Historic luggage tag to fly in space

A luggage label belonging to one of the first English settlers of the USA is to be flown into space next month. The 400-year-old lead tag will be carried aboard the shuttle Atlantis when it blasts off to the International Space Station.

Historic cargo tagIt means the tag will have travelled more than four million miles since it set out on its first journey on a fleet of three ships, carrying 108 people, from London.

Four commemorative coins issued by the US Mint will also be on shuttle mission STS-117 to mark the historic anniversary.

The metal tag was found at the bottom of a well at Jamestown, Virginia, site of the first permanent English settlement in the Americas in 1607. It reads YAMES TOWNE and is thought to have been discarded from either a shipping crate or trunk.

After the flight, Nasa will return the shipping tag to the Historic Jamestowne Archaearium, a new museum showcasing items unearthed during 13 years of excavations. Nasa spokesman Lesa Roe said: “Nasa is proud to be entrusted with this piece of exploration history and to participate in the commemoration of America’s 400th anniversary.

“Remembering the spirit of adventure that led to the establishment of Jamestown is appropriate as this country works toward establishing a permanent outpost on another planetary body.”

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Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

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Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

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