Sovereign Military Hospitaller
Order of St John of Jerusalem of
Rhodes and of Malta


A special postmark for Axiom Mission 3

A special postmark for Axiom Mission 3

For the first time in history, the flag with the eight-point white cross of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta has crossed the boundaries of Earth orbit. At 22.49 Italian time on 18 January 2024, the banner left earth as part of the Axiom Mission 3, which departed from NASA’s Cape Canaveral base in Florida.

Accompanied by Italian Air Force Colonel Walter Villadei, the flag will reach the International Space Station (ISS) to return to the Magistral Palace in Rome at the end of the mission.

For the occasion, the Order of Malta’s Poste Magistrali has created a special postmark reproducing an image of the International Space Station in Earth orbit, flanked by the flag of the Order of Malta’s activities.

“After being deployed over nine centuries on five continents, our flag has now crossed the earth’s borders. We are very proud to know that the flag that flies over our hospitals, health centres and clinics as well as where our volunteers and employees operate – also in war zones – is now in orbit, part of a mission of great scientific value aimed at achieving a better world for all” said the Receiver of the Common Treasure of the Sovereign Order of Malta, Fabrizio Colonna, commenting on the mission launch.

The Poste Magistrali office counter located inside the Magistral Palace in Rome, with public entrance from Via delle Carrozze 79, will use the special postmark on 19 January 2024.

Those interested can order the card stamped with the special postmark by completing and returning the appropriate form.