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Stamp Profile Space and Communication Niuafo'ou Issue Date: 07/07/2000 Niuafo'ou released a two-stamp miniature sheet on the 7 July to coincide with the International Stamp Exhibition in Anaheim, California. The popular topic of space was depicted in the form of the Intelsat satellite in orbit above the islands of the Niuas. The islands in the Kingdom are all linked through the DAMA net service. This is a flexible and relatively low cost transmission system designed for low traffic requirements and is intended specifically for a domestic system. The Telecom Satellite dish on Niuafo'ou is dep[icted with a young girl and her grandfather staring into the heavens. The younger and the older generation are symbolic of the progress of communications in the islands. The Niuas used to be serviced by a cumbersome radiotelephone link that provided a poor service and little privacy to the end users. The Niuas are very distant from the main islands of the Kingdom; however, they now have direct access to telecommunication through the Intelsat satellite system. The service to the Niuas although uneconomical, was installed by Tonga Telecom as part of its social obligation to its customers. The humanitarian project was funded by a US$1.2 million dollar loan from the Asian Development Bank and was commissioned in February 1998. His Majesty King Taufa'ahau Tupou IV travelled to the Niuas to commission the Tonga Telecom earth station by making the first call linking the entire Kingdom and more importantly the rest of the world through satellite communications. The very popular telephone link has proved invaluable, resulting in full traffic on the 7 circuit channels from Niuatoptapu and 6 circuit channels from Niuafo'ou to Tongatapu. Designer: Benjamin Pearce ©Info by New Zealand Post Europe in Space 1991 Great Britain Issue Date: 23/04/1991 The 1991 Europa stamps, issued on 23 April have as their theme "Europe in Space" - adopted by the Conference of European Posts and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT), to honour the major contribution to our knowledge of the Universe being made by European astronomers at La Palma in the Canary Islands. The stamps comprise se-tenant pairs of 22p and 37p stamps featuring thought-provoking illustrations designed to challenge us to explore questions which astronomers at La Palma may one day be able to answer. The 22p stamps cover the basic first class inland and EEC rate and the airmail outside Europe basic rate (up to 10g) is catered for by the 37p values. Peering out into worlds that may well have disappeared before ours was created, and at distances from us which defy imagination, astronomers have little difficulty in transcending earthly boundaries. Their perspective of our planet - which less than 600 years ago believed to be the centre of the Universe - is a humble speck of dust while our own galaxy is really of marginal significance since it is dwarfed by millions of others infinitely more vast. Above all, they realise that, despite tremendous advances in astronomy in the last 30 years, they have barely scratched the surface. To them, knowledge shared on an international scale is more than good manners - it is a vital necessity. The Spirit of international co-operation is clearly demonstrated by the work at El Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos (Observatory of the Rocks of the Two Boys) on La PaIma in the Canary Islands. There is based a multi-European team of astronomers from Britain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Spain and Ireland. The observatory is situated at an altitude of 2,350 metres - above the cloud levels and so ideal for astronomical observation. La Palma was chosen in the 1970s when the Royal Greenwich Observatory found that the British weather and urban lighting were causing difficulties at its Herstmonceux (Sussex) site. Today the Observatory's Isaac Newton telescope stands at La Palma alongside another British telescope (William Herschel) and telescopes from other European nations. All are computer-controlled; movements of the Herschel, the third largest reflector in the world, can be operated by astronomers from computers at the Royal Greenwich Observatory's Cambridge headquarters. The designs of these stamps, by Jean-Michel Folon, are far from conventional and aim to get the general public and stamp collectors to think about the wonders of space and the fact that our planet is but a tiny fragment of the Universe. In so doing the artist wishes us to realise that Time as we are used to thinking of it is insignificant; we need to try to visualise Time as infinite. The 22p stamp designs aim to inspire thought of looking out into Space beyond the Earth; the 37p designs suggest us as others might see us - if, as may well be, there is life on other planets.
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