Featuring Research Volunteer Contributions

Air and Space

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Graf Zeppelin A Century of Progress Flight cover

Just as aviation technology changed the way human beings view time and space, airmail changed the way they communicate. From the first mail flown by balloons and gliders in the 1800s to the envelopes postmarked on the Moon by the Apollo 15 crew in 1971, the increasing speeds, endurance, and payloads of air and space craft have improved global mail delivery. Pioneer barnstormers carried souvenir mail before the post office implemented official airmail services or awarded mail contracts for aviation routes. US airmail stamps, beginning with those issued in 1918 for the first regularly scheduled airmail service, have honored aircraft, pilots, aviation feats, and wonders of American nature.

Cheryl R. Ganz, National Postal Museum

Amelia Earhart signed cover

On December 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, the Wright Flyer became the first...

Dirigible R-34 return flight cover

Lighter-than-air” refers to balloons and airships, which use helium, hydrogen, or...