China opened a new post office on Nov. 3 with a street address that is 213 miles (343 km) above the Earth. The new space post office even has it's own postal code that extends into orbit: 901001.
The opening of the new "China Post Space Office" coincided with the first ever Chinese docking in space between the unmanned Shenzhou 8 spacecraft and Tiangong-1 space lab module. The post office is located both on the ground in the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center (BACC), and, at least virtually, on board the newly established orbital complex.
The office will process letters, and e-mails, making it possible for the public to write Chinese astronauts, or "taikonauts," on the ground and in space. It will offer domestic and international delivery as well as philatelic collectibles. The first souvenirs offered are cancelled envelopes, or "covers," celebrating the Shenzhou 8 and Tiangong-1 docking complete with a commemorative postmark.
Russia has operated a makeshift post office on its space stations since the 1970s. The Russian space office continues to operate on the International Space Station. It consists primarily of a postmark device that is only used in space to mark letters and postcards as having flown in orbit.