FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release Date: 
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Category: 
Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

Louis Braille Coin to be Launched into Space on May 11

Commemorative Coin Will Fly on Space Shuttle Mission STS-125

Baltimore, Maryland (May 7, 2009): The 2009 Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar, the first coin ever to feature readable Braille, will fly on NASA space shuttle Atlantis on May 11, 2009. The coin will be launched into space on mission STS-125, which will service NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

The Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar was released by the United States Mint on March 26, 2009. Sales of the coin will be used to support the National Federation of the Blind “Braille Readers are Leaders” campaign. The campaign is a national initiative created to double the number of blind children learning Braille by 2015.

Dr. Marc Maurer, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “The Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar symbolizes the power of knowledge and future opportunities for blind children across America. It is therefore fitting that this historic coin will be part of a mission to uncover the secrets of the universe. Perhaps someday a Braille reader will also be part of such a mission.

“NASA believes strongly in the importance of educational opportunities for everyone," said Joyce Winterton, assistant administrator for education at NASA headquarters in Washington. "That is why we have partnered with the National Federation of the Blind to help create programs that enhance scientific study for blind youth. Launching the first coin to contain tactile, readable Braille into space symbolizes NASA’s commitment to the spread of knowledge by every means and to every individual.”

The Louis Braille Bicentennial Silver Dollar is currently on sale. Those interested in ordering a coin should visit www.usmint.gov or call 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468). For more information about the National Federation of the Blind and the Braille Readers are Leaders campaign, visit www.braille.org.