Astronaut Christa McAuliffe, who launched aboard NASA’s Challenger in 1986 before being killed moments into flight when the space shuttle exploded, will be honored on a 2021 United States commemorative silver dollar. The coin will be issued to mark the 35th anniversary of the Challenger explosion and surcharges from the sale of the coin will benefit science education.
The Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019, named for the 37-year-old social studies teacher who inspired a generation of children in the 1980s and beyond, authorizes the production of 350,000 silver dollars bearing her likeness. A $10 surcharge collected from the sale of each coin will benefit For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), which uses robotic competitions to inspire children to aspire toward careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Early concept art for the 2021 Christa McAuliffe commemorative silver dollar features a likeness of McAuliffe looking toward the viewer at three-quarters perspective. The reverse shows her leading in a 1980s-era classroom pointing to a globe while teaching a group of young students. Below this scene is the inscription “I touch the future. I teach,” an inspirational phrase McAuliffe once said.