Tuesday 10th Jun 2008
I saw pictures of these stamps on Ace Jet 170, and was absolutely fascinated by them. I love the illustrations of the orbits and paths taken by the space vehicles - the Łunnik 3 (Luna 3) one especially. As usual, I felt compelled to redraw them so as to understand them better, and they really are very well done - the orbits of Mars, Earth and Venus aren’t drawn perfectly circular, and the relative sizes of the planets are nicely visualised. The whole collection looks to have been a celebration of 60 years since the publication of Konstanty CioÅ‚kowski’s treatise on powered spaceflight “Изслѣдованiе мировыхъ пространствъ реактивными приборами” (The Exploration of Cosmic Space by Means of Reaction Devices), in 1903 - showing some of the results of the research his work started.
The first (or tenth?) stamp in the collection was devoted entirely to him, and the illustration is that of a design for a powered spacecraft from the cover of published versions of his paper - my redrawing of it is at right. The others show a variety of space missions, with the interesting date convention of having the month depicted with roman numerals. It’s not something I’d come across before, but it looks quite useful*. No longer would Americans and Europeans have any doubt over whether 01/03/08 is the 1st of March or the 3rd of January. Anyway, that’s another one of my must-do-something-with-this bookmarks cleared up, and it’s been quite a fun process in redrawing them. Here are the images I made based on the stamps. I’ve got them as vectors, so I’m thinking of getting them printed out A3 size.
* Update: Piotr Szotkowski sent me a useful bit of info regarding this, “Using Roman numerals for denoting months is still quite popular in Poland. The popularity is a bit waning since the fall of the Eastern Block, but the elder generations still use them quite often, especially in hand writing.”