The day was thirty-five years ago. January 28, 1985. I remember being in my eighth-grade social studies class when the teacher (sadly, I cannot remember her name) looked at the class as we sat down and told us of the Space Shuttle Challenger expolding just after take off. "Go with throttle up" that phrase was repeated at every single news cast for many days after.

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On board, in addition to the astronauts was, also teacher Christa McAuliffe. This is what 'normalized' this particular mission for me. I remember other teachers at my school, and students, talking about how she had 'won' the right to be on the mission. No, she was't there to just take up space, but she would be a working part of the crew. Once she returned to Earth, she would then pass on what she learned to her students as well as other students that she would continue to share this knowledge she gained for many years to come.

Sadly, history has a heartbreaking record of what happened that day with the lives of the seven on board.

The crew members that day were as follows:

  • Francis R. Scobee, Commande
  • Michael J. Smith, Pilot
  • Ronald McNair, Mission Specialist
  • Ellison Onizuka, Mission Specialist
  • Judith Resnik, Mission Specialist
  • Gregory Jarvis, Payload Specialist
  • Christa McAuliffe, Payload Specialist, Teacher in Space

To mark the anniversary of that day, 35-years-ago, the United States Mint has commisioned a coin, featuring the image of Christa McAuliffe. The front of the coin, has the image of McAuliffe on it, along with the words Liberty, In God We Trust and 2021. The reverse of the coin has an image of McAuliffe, point upwards, symbolizing the future, as three students look on. There are also seven stars on the coin, paying tribute to all who lost their life that day.

Each coin will be sold with a $10 surcharge. According to the US Mint, the monies raised from that surcharge on "each silver dollar sold are authorized to be paid 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."

Does is surprise you that this tragic day was 35-years-ago? What were you doing that day? With 85% of the American public watching the launch that day, this was a tragedy that before the internet, might shock you to know that with in approximatly one hour most of the people of the United States knew that this had occured. Not a big deal for todays internet age, but for the news cycle of 1985? Pretty unheard of at the time.

*Note* As of the writing of this piece, the US Mint, does not have an anticipated sale date for the coin. 

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