US silver dollar coin design commemorating astronaut/schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe

Next year, the United States Mint will release a silver dollar coin commemorating astronaut and elementary school teacher Christa McAuliffe who died with her six crewmates when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded after liftoff on January 28, 1986. The candidate coin designs (below) were presented to the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) and the group's majority vote aligned with the preferences of the McAuliffe family. The US Treasury will make the final decision. From

The heads-side design focuses on McAuliffe's profile, in a way reminiscent of the U.S. Mint's more traditional commemorative coins. The black and white NASA photograph on which it was based was taken on Sept. 12, 1985, while McAuliffe, NASA's "Teacher in Space" participant, received a briefing on the flight suit and personal hygiene equipment that she would use on Challenger's STS-51L mission.

"With respect to the coin and the purpose of the coin, I think what strikes me is the gaze is to the future, as it should be," said [Christa McAuliffe's widower U.S. District Court judge Steven McAuliffe]. "It is the look of quiet, committed courageousness[…]"

The family's preferred tails-side design depicts McAuliffe in her role as a New Hampshire social studies teacher, prior to her being selected for NASA's Teacher in Space program from a nationwide pool of more than 11,000 applicants. She is shown standing alongside three children while pointing upwards to the sky[…]

Surcharges from the sale of the McAuliffe silver dollar will benefit Kamen's FIRST organization and its student robotics competitions 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," [director of the U.S. Mint's Office of Design Management April] Stafford said, citing the coin's authorizing bill.