The US Mint has just released a new proof silver dollar commemorating the life of Christa McAuliffe, a social studies teacher selected in 1985 for NASA's Teacher in Space Program. The students of Earth to Sky Calculus have honored her, too, by flying the coin to the edge of space onboard a cosmic ray research balloon.


You can have this coin for $179.95. It comes with a certificate of authenticity and a greeting card showing the coin in flight more than 34.9 km (114,501 feet) above the Sierra Nevada mountains of central California.


On January 28, 1986, McAuliffe and six astronauts were killed during the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Earth to Sky mentor Dr. Tony Phillips, then an undergraduate astronomy student, followed her career and witnessed the explosion. It is fair to say that our ballooning program exists, in part, because of her example and dedication to space education.. Each coin was launched with a heartfelt  appreciation of her life.



Features a portrait of Christa McAuliffe with a hopeful gaze. Inscriptions are "CHRISTA McAULIFFE," “2021,” “LIBERTY,” and “IN GOD WE TRUST.”


Depicts Christa 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 above them 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 logo of the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) organization is also included.


As part of the purchase of these coins for flight, we have already contributed $10/coin to the FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) robotics program to engage and inspire young people—through mentor-based programs—to become leaders in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. FIRST is dedicated to carrying on the legacy of Christa McAuliffe by inspiring students and creating a new generation of dreamers and innovators.



Christa McAuliffe 2021 Proof Silver Dollar