Sometime later, in the first few weeks or perhaps months of 2023, NASA will begin delivering something it hasn’t had in more than 50 years: new patches, flags and other mementos that commemorated the trip around the Moon.
The Artemis 1 official flight kit (OFK), along with nearly 10,000 mementos from the recently completed, uncrewed lunar mission, returned to the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Friday (Dec. 30) and crossed the country. truck. Once unpacked from the Orion spacecraft that carried it to the Moon and back, the contents of the official flight kit (opens in new tab) will be presented and sent to organizations and individuals supporting the history-making Artemis 1 mission.
Whether any of those newly minted Moon collectibles reach the general public, the first by the US since the end of the Apollo program in 1972, remains to be seen. If previous precedent holds true, some memorabilia will end up in the hands of enthusiasts, either coming directly from NASA and its contractors or being passed down by their original recipients.
While collectors wait for those items to become available, the new year brings with it other opportunities to celebrate space exploration through new offerings in 2023. (opens in new tab),
related: The 10 Greatest Images from NASA’s Artemis 1 Moon Mission
stamps and coins
It is not yet known whether the US Postal Service (USPS) will issue any new space related stamps this year. While it’s already previewed several issues planned for the next 12 months and none of them have a NASA or space theme, there’s still a chance that one (or more) could be coming.
USPS officials advised that while what has been shown to date is only a partial list, “more will be disclosed in the weeks and months ahead.”
A quick search of the postage stamp programs of several other countries turns up only a few space commemorations planned for 2023 so far. Most prominently, Russia has a new stamp coming out that shows its medal for “Merits in Space Exploration”, part of a series of stamps dedicated to the Russian Federation’s awards, due later this month. is scheduled for release in Russia also has plans for a still-to-be-revealed stamp sheet dedicated to Luna 25, the country’s first lunar mission since the collapse of the Soviet Union, to be released in May (the mission is planned to launch later this year). has been created).
Like the USPS, the US Mint has yet to announce any space-related coins or medals for the coming year. Mint’s ongoing programs that include space themes, such as the American Innovation dollar coin (opens in new tab) and American Women’s Quarterly, in 2023 focused on other topics.
A possible release could be bronze replicas of Congressional gold medals honoring “hidden figures,” black women who worked as “human computers” for NASA during the early years of spaceflight. Authorized by Congress in 2019, designs for five medals — one each for manager Dorothy Vaughan, mathematician Katherine Johnson and engineers Mary Jackson and Christine Darden, as well as a group award — were last reviewed in late 2020. (opens in new tab),
toys and models
The most anticipated space collection of 2023 may be the launch of Mattel’s line of toys inspired by SpaceX.
As announced last July, the global toy company has inked a multi-year agreement (opens in new tab) with Elon Musk’s commercial spaceflight firm to create and market toys and “elevated collectibles” based on SpaceX’s rockets and spacecraft. No specifics have been revealed yet, but Mattel said the first toys will be released through its Mailbox and Mattel Creations brands sometime this year.
SpaceX is expected to launch its Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket together for the first time in 2023. The test flight (or flights) will advance NASA’s plan to use a version of Starship to land the next humans on the Moon.
Another release this year is the limited edition NASA astronauts as part of Funko’s Soda line of vinyl figures (opens in new tab), Originally expected to ship in September of last year, the soda can-packed astronauts started showing up in retail stores in late December, with their wider release now scheduled for this month.
lego that blew up four minifigures (opens in new tab) Artemis 1 at OFK hasn’t announced any new space-themed sets for 2023, although rumors of a tech version of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover began circulating online just before the new year.
mission patches and more
For book collectors, 2023 will bring a new collection of early spaceflight imagery (“Photographing America’s First Astronauts (opens in new tab)“Project Mercury Through the Lens of Bill Tabb” and “An Astronaut’s Guide to Spacewalking” by JL Pickering and John Bisney, Purdue University Press (“How to Spacewalk”) (opens in new tab)Michael Rosen, “Step-by-Step with the Shuttle Astronauts” by Cathy Sullivan with MIT Kids Press, among many other titles.
For autograph seekers, perhaps the highest-profile crew to be announced in years is set to be revealed with the selection of the four astronauts selected to fly on Artemis 2, the first mission of NASA’s new Moon program . All that is known about the crew today is that one of the astronauts will be Canadian. (opens in new tab),
The Artemis 2 mission patch may be released after the Artemis 2 crew is announced, although when that may happen is unknown this year. More Certain For 2023, Patch Will Be Issued For Boeing’s First CST-100 Starliner Crew Flight Test (opens in new tab) (CFT), slated for launch to the International Space Station in April.
Other notable insignias for this year may include the first flight patches for SpaceX’s Starship and United Launch Alliance’s Vulcan rocket.
Follow CollectionSPACE.com (opens in new tab) But Facebook (opens in new tab) and on Twitter @SPACE (opens in new tab), Copyright 2023 CollectSPACE.com. All rights reserved.