The U.S. Mint created a commemorative coin to honor Christa McAuliffe, the Concord teacher who died aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986. This 2021 silver dollar promotes American commitment to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and will support it with proceeds from the coin.
U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) led the bipartisan legislation with Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Maggie Hassan(D-NH) to create the coin.
“Christa McAuliffe will always have a special place in our hearts in New Hampshire. More than three decades since the NASA Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, her mission lives on in the generations of students she inspired to pursue STEM education and space exploration,” said Shaheen.
The obverse (heads) design depicts a portrait of McAuliffe with a hopeful gaze and the inscriptions “CHRISTA McAULIFFE,” “2021,” “LIBERTY,” and “IN GOD WE TRUST.” United States Mint Artistic Infusion Program (AIP) Designer Laurie J. Musser created the design, which was sculpted by United States Mint Medallic Artist Phebe Hemphill.
The reverse (tails) design depicts McAuliffe as a teacher, smiling as she points forward and upward, symbolizing the future. Three high school-age students look on with wonder. The seven stars pay tribute to those who perished in the Challenger tragedy. Around the border are the inscriptions “I TOUCH THE FUTURE. I TEACH.,” “E PLURIBUS UNUM,” “ONE DOLLAR,” and “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.” The FIRST organization logo is included in the design. The reverse design was created by AIP Designer Emily Damstra and sculpted by Chief Engraver Joseph Menna.
When available, the Mint will accept orders at catalog.usmint.gov/.
“Christa McAuliffe will always be an inspiration to Granite Staters and Americans from all walks of life,” says Senator Hassan. “Christa was driven by a passion for teaching and scientific discovery, and this commemorative coin will help continue her legacy. I also greatly appreciate Dean Kamen’s work on this effort and all that he does to advance Christa’s mission of engaging more young people in the STEM fields. And I am grateful to have been part of a bipartisan team with Senator Shaheen and Senator Enzi in helping make this commemorative coin a reality. I look forward to similar bipartisan efforts in the future to bolster STEM education.”