According to Space.com, the U.S. Mint will memorialize Christa McAuliffe, New Hampshire’s own first teacher in space, with a new coin that will help continue her mission of science and technology education.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Christa McAuliffe Commemorative Coin Act of 2019 on Sept. 19, which directs the Mint to produce a $1 silver coin honoring the McAuliffe, who died alongside her six crewmates on board the space shuttle Challenger in 1986. Approved by the Senate in July, the bill will now go to the White House for the president to sign into law.
“So proud that today the House passed my bill,” said Representative Fred Upton, the Republican congressman from southwest Michigan who introduced the bill into the House in January. “I am looking forward to 2021 to getting my coin for sure.”
The bill was originally introduced in 2016 by NH Senators Kelly Ayotte, R-NH, and Jean Shaheen, D-NH. At that time a proposed design by Jack Kamen, inventor Dean Kamen’s father, was submitted. It is not an official design, but Jack Kamen was a comic book illustrator.
In 2016, Dean Kamen issued the following statement about the proposed legislation:
“I’m thankful for Senators Ayotte and Shaheen for their continued dedication to the future of New Hampshire’s students and their involvement in furthering FIRST’s mission. As New Hampshire’s first teacher in space, Christa McAuliffe embodied the spirit of curiosity and desire for education that FIRST seeks to spread throughout our state and nation. It would be an honor to have these coins minted to help ensure that every student in America can participate in FIRST. A pioneer of her time, Christa McAuliffe’s memory lives on in our state and I’m proud to help continue her legacy,” said Kamen, founder of FIRST.