The latest astronauts to visit the Hubble Space Telescope sign coins for AMF fundraising


As the eyes of the world turn to the deployment of a new space telescope, the Astronauts Memorial Foundation (AMF) highlights the latest astronauts to visit one.

The foundation, which maintains the Space Mirror Memorial and operates the Center for Space Education, both located at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex in Florida, has revealed its latest fundraising effort, which combines historic astronauts with commemorations from the US Mint.

Now available for sale on the foundation’s website, six-piece collections celebrate the Hubble Space Telescope and the STS-125 crew who were the last to modernize the observatory in orbit more than a decade ago. The offer includes the autographs of five of the seven STS-125 astronauts on individual inserts, each encapsulated with a $ 1 American Innovation 2020 coin with the Hubble.

Related: James Webb Space Telescope vs. Hubble: How Will Their Images Compare?

Unlike the James Webb Space Telescope, which was recently launched on a million mile (1.6 million km) journey to the second Lagrange Earth-Sun (L2) point – far too far away for astronauts can easily visit it – the Hubble Space Telescope was designed for service in Earth orbit. STS-125 in 2009 was the fifth and last space shuttle mission to meet with Hubble to repair and change its instruments.

The Hubble Space Telescope is still in service today, 13 years later, in large part thanks to the work of the STS-125 crew.

The US Mint’s $ 1 American Innovation coin program honors innovations and innovators from all 50 US states, five US territories, and the District of Columbia. Maryland, home of the Space Telescope Science Institute, has chosen to celebrate the Hubble on its coin issued in 2020. The gold dollar is engraved with a depiction of the observatory above Earth, surrounded by a field of ‘stars.

The AMF coin sets include six of the Hubble Ornate Dollars, including five associated with an astronaut’s signature STS-125. Mission Commander Scott Altman, Pilot Gregory C. Johnson, and Mission Specialists Michael Massimino, Michael Good and John Grunsfeld each autographed inserts which were then encapsulated with a coin in a sealed plastic case.

STS-125 mission specialists Megan McArthur and Drew Feustel remain active in the NASA Astronaut Corps and, per federal government employee law, were unable to participate in the fundraising effort. .

Each individually encapsulated piece throughout the Astronaut Memorial Foundation includes an autograph from an STS-125 crew member or the launch director. (Image credit: Astronauts Memorial Foundation)

The sixth piece of the foundation set features the autograph of Michael Leinbach, the former director of space shuttle launch who oversaw the takeoff from Atlantis on mission STS-125 on May 11, 2009.

The six-coin sets, which also include an STS-125 mission crest shown in a floating frame, are available with uncirculated coins minted at the Denver (D) or Philadelphia facilities of the US Mint. The AMF charges $ 290 for each set.

In addition to selling on its website, the AMF will have a booth at the Florida United Numismatists (FUN) show which will be held Thursday through Sunday (January 6-9) at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Leinbach will be present at the show, alongside the members of the AMF board of directors.

The STS-125 coin sets follow an earlier AMF offer for Apollo 11 50th anniversary commemorations signed and encapsulated. Still available for sale, the 2019 gold and silver coins issued by the US Mint are autographed on inserts by Apollo 11 lunar walker Buzz Aldrin or Apollo 13 lunar module pilot Fred Haise.

For the Apollo and STS-125 sets, the AMF worked with the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS) to certify the authenticity of the coins and autographs.

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