Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Silver Dollars for 2021

NASA photo of Christa McAuliffe
A NASA photo of Christa McAuliffe

Silver dollars honoring Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher chosen to go into space, will be struck and sold by the United States Mint in 2021. McAuliffe was among the seven crew members killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion on Jan. 28, 1986.

The commemorative coins will be produced in collector qualities of proof and uncirculated with no more than 350,000 made. Their obverse (heads side) will feature McAuliffe and their reverse (tails side) will portray her legacy as a teacher.

Both designs will be selected by the Treasury Secretary after consulting with the family of Christa McAuliffe, the Commission of Fine Arts, the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee, and the not-for-profit organization called FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology). FIRST was founded in 1989 to inspire youth interest and participation in science and technology.

The coins’ authorizing legislation, S. 239, or the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019, was introduced in the Senate Jan. 28 by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH). It enjoyed strong bipartisan support, passing the Senate on July 9, passing the House on Sept. 19, and signed it into law (Public Law No: 116-65) by President Trump on Oct. 9.

"I’m heartened by the bipartisan support that ushered this bill through Congress, which will create a truly fitting tribute in Christa McAuliffe’s memory," Senator Shaheen said. "Forging a coin in her likeness with proceeds bolstering STEM education not only ensures generations of Granite Staters and Americans know her story, but it continues her mission to get kids involved in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math."

The Act calls for an added surcharge of $10 to the price of each silver dollar with proceeds, provided the coins turn a profit, paid to “the FIRST robotics program for the purpose of engaging and inspiring young people, through mentor-based programs, to become leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”

Current law provides for two U.S. Mint commemorative coin programs each year. Another program for the year has yet to be authorized.

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Nice tribute, BUT, They should’ve honored ALL the astronauts that were aboard that ill-fated flight. They also gave there lives.


all of the astronauts of that flight should be honored. i will not purchase any of these because they should all be honored. what was the mint thinking?


The Mint doesn’t think. It acts according to the law. We should blame Congress.


Did no one in the senate or house realize that more than one person was on board that shuttle? Did, at any point, any senator or congressman stop and voice a question as to why the other astronauts weren’t being honoured ?


i agree completely. all the brave people who perished in the challenger tragedy should be honored.

Christopher Williams

I concur with everyone here.


I agree, it is not right to single out any one of these brave people. The entire “teacher in space” thing was a bit of a publicity stunt to begin with, and this is just trading on her death. For that matter, the whole disaster was needless, as the engineers didn’t explain their concerns well and the bureaucrats, feeling they were pushed by the politicians, didn’t listen.


Then if you wanted a coin for all Challenger astronauts then you you should have gone to Congress (it took almost 30 years) and petitioned to get a coin. Many people that admired a teacher that died in a tragedy trying to teach kids about space have rallied behind this cause. Proceeds go to FIRST which is an organization that teaches kids STEM programs related to robotics. Something Christa McAuliffe would have admired and supported. The tragedy of the event and the other astronauts deaths are not being dismissed by this commemorative coin. I would suggest that Congress be petitioned… Read more »