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First Day of Issue Date: September 22, 2023

First Day of Issue Location: Salt Lake City, UT

About This Stamp

This 20-stamp pane from the U.S. Postal Service celebrates NASA’s seven-year OSIRIS-REx mission to study and map the asteroid Bennu and return a sample of the surface to Earth in September 2023. This is the first pristine sample of an asteroid collected by the United States, and it will help scientists learn how our solar system formed.

The stamp artwork shows the capsule containing the sample parachuting to the Utah Test and Training Range, a U.S. Department of Defense facility in the desert. A depiction of Bennu’s surface appears at the bottom of the pane’s selvage with outer space above, deep blue and dappled with celestial bodies. A view of the asteroid is in the upper right corner.

Along the left side of the pane are four images that illustrate crucial milestones in OSIRIS-REx’s mission. The top image shows OSIRIS-REx one year into the mission, passing 11,000 miles over Antarctica, as Earth’s gravity boosts the spacecraft toward Bennu. The second image represents OSIRIS-REx conducting its two-year global mapping campaign of Bennu, searching for the best location to collect a sample. The third image shows the spacecraft’s orbit in yellow, and its path to the asteroid in white. In the fourth image, OSIRIS-REx extends its robotic arm to Bennu’s surface to capture a sample of the asteroid. On the reverse side of the pane is text courtesy of NASA that describes the OSIRIS-REx mission and explains each image.

OSIRIS-REx left Earth aboard a rocket launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on September 8, 2016, then orbited the Sun for a year before passing close to Earth for a gravity assist. The spacecraft arrived in the asteroid’s orbit in December 2018 and got to work. With its special cameras and spectrometers, it began photographing and mapping Bennu’s surface to determine the best site from which to collect samples.

The time for the rendezvous arrived in October 2020. To carry out its task, the spacecraft did not actually land on the asteroid but instead slowly descended toward the surface and extended a robotic arm. A collection device at the hand-end of the arm then released a sudden puff of nitrogen gas that sent up a cloud of dust and rocks from Bennu’s surface. More than two ounces of these materials were captured in a special container in the collection device, which then closed and retracted into the spacecraft. On May 10, 2021, OSIRIS-REx began its flight back toward Earth. Its container of asteroid dust and rocks, enclosed in a special capsule, parachuted down to the Utah desert on September 24, 2023.

Alan Dingman illustrated the stamp and pane, basing his work on images supplied by NASA. Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamp and pane.

The OSIRIS-REx stamp is being issued as a Forever® stamp. This Forever stamp will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce rate.

Stamp Art Director

Antonio Alcalá

Antonio Alcalá served on the Postmaster General’s Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee from 2010 until 2011, when he left to become an art director for the U.S. Postal Service's stamp development program.

He is founder and co-owner of Studio A, a design practice working with museums and arts institutions. His clients include: the National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Phillips Collection, and Smithsonian Institution. He also lectures at colleges including the Corcoran College of Art + Design, SVA, Pratt, and MICA.

In 2008, his work and contributions to the field of graphic design were recognized with his selection as an AIGA Fellow. He has judged international competitions for the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, AIGA, and Graphis. Alcalá also serves on the Smithsonian National Postal Museum and Poster House Museum’s advisory councils. His designs are represented in the AIGA Design Archives, the National Postal Museum, and the Library of Congress Permanent Collection of Graphic Design.

Alcalá graduated from Yale University with a BA in history and from the Yale School of Art with an MFA in graphic design. He lives with his wife in Alexandria, Virginia.

Stamp Artist

Alan Dingman

Alan Dingman is an illustrator, designer, and painter trained at Parsons School of Design and Rhode Island School of Design.

After college, he went to work for the New York City book publisher St. Martin’s Press, rising to art director for the company’s mystery imprint, Minotaur Books. He later served as associate art director with Simon & Schuster’s Pocket Books imprint, where he designed and illustrated cover art for Star Trek novels, among other releases.

As a freelance illustrator Dingman has worked for clients including the New York TimesRolling Stone, the Weekly StandardBusiness Week, and Time Warner. His art has graced the covers of novels by New York Times best-selling authors Fredrik Backman, John Irving, David McCullough, and Ruth Ware, among others. A career highlight was illustrating a pop-up book by Stephen King, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (Little Simon, 2004).

Dingman has received awards and recognition from the Society of Illustrators, Dimensional Illustrators Inc, Communication Arts, the New York Book Show, and American Illustration. His work achieved finalist status in the America China Oil Painting Artists League’s Exhibition of Contemporary American and Chinese Realism. In addition, the Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists selected three of his paintings for inclusion in its Faces of Winter 2012 exhibition.

Dingman lives with his wife and two daughters in the lower Hudson Valley.

The OSIRIS-REx stamp issuance (2023) is his first project for the U.S. Postal Service. 

First Day of Issue Ceremony

First Day of Issue Date: September 22, 2023
First Day of Issue Location: Salt Lake City, UT

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