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David Bowie stamps launched into space to fall to Earth

A special set of UK stamps leaves Earth's surface for a ride into space in remembrance of the man behind Ziggy Stardust.


This contains 52 sets of David Bowie stamps.

Video screenshot by Amanda Kooser/CNET

The UK's Royal Mail Group is honoring David Bowie, "The Man Who Fell to Earth," with a set of commemorative stamps showing some of his iconic album covers. Those stamps launched in more ways than one this week.

The Royal Mail shot 52 sets of the special stamps into space so they can fall back to Earth in recognition of the late musician's space-themed music and starring role as an alien in the surreal 1976 movie "The Man Who Fell to Earth." Technically, the stamps probably flew up to the edge of space, but it's close enough.

The Royal Mail chose 52 sets in tribute to the number of professional recording years in Bowie's career. The space stamps are all marked with a special red lightning-bolt hand stamp.

Regular versions of the stamps are available to buy in the UK, but fans also have a chance to win one of the sets that went into space if they can guess the stamps' landing location. The competition is only open to UK residents and guesses must be submitted by March 26.

The Royal Mail posted a video showing the launch, flight and return of the stamps. The camera keeps its eye on a jumbo replica of one of the stamps, a representation of Bowie's "Aladdin Sane" album cover with a vinyl record peeking out on one side.

The Royal Mail has a history of issuing tributes to pop-culture icons, including releases of special Pink Floyd and Star Wars stamps. The Bowie stamps are unique, however. The group notes, "This is the first time Royal Mail has dedicated an entire stamp issue to an individual music artist or cultural figure."

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