David Bowie Stamps Launched into Stratosphere

The stamps that fell to Earth. But where did they fall?

By Hayden Wright

David Bowie’s extraterrestrial grip on popular culture hasn’t let up in the year since his death: The rock icon appeared on British postage stamps in character as Ziggy Stardust, and the UK postal service launched them into space on helium balloons.

Related: Two Previously Unreleased David Bowie Albums Coming for Record Store Day

The Royal Mail issued a set of 10 stamps with various images and album covers from Bowie’s long career. Altogether, 52 collections were launched into the stratosphere from a height of 34,100 meters above the Earth’s surface. Those bundles will eventually fall to Earth, descending at a speed of 200 mph until they slow to 8 mph.

The number 52 has special significance to Bowie aficionados: It’s the number of years Bowie’s recording career stretched through his lifetime. The stamps will be easy to identify when they reach the ground (assuming some don’t land in the ocean) because they’ve been postmarked with a red handstamp of a thunderbolt from the cover of Aladdin Sane.

“Fans who correctly guess where “the stamps that fell to earth” landed can win one of the limited edition first day covers,” explains the U.K. Press Association. A map of the launch and recovery sites can be perused on the post’s website. The Royal Mail shared an interactive video of the stamps’ dizzying ascent into outer space.

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