Beijing’s space post office to put mail into orbit

China’s space program is renowned for its secrecy, but a newly opened “space post office” provides an enticing glimpse into the future, and a lot of novelty stamps.

“As far as I know, we’re the world’s only space post office,” Liu Dong (name changed on request), a clerk at the post office, said. Despite its name, the office is located in Beijing, part of a secretive area known as Aerospace City. When it opened last month, the office was partnered with a “virtual” branch aboard the Shenzhou-8 spacecraft, meaning that in theory the office extended 343 kilometers above the earth. “Any parcels which go on China’s spacecraft will be sent from here.” Liu said. Space-mail services aren’t available for public use yet, though. “We can send mail anywhere in the world but not into space,” Liu said.

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