With the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing two and a half years away, on Monday, the U.S. House passed a proposal from two Florida congressional representatives to introduce a commemorative coin to mark the occasion.
U.S Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla., who represents parts of the Space Coast and worked on the Apollo program decades ago, paired up with U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla., U.S. Rep. Rod Blum, D-Iowa, U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, and U.S. Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, to introduce the measure in the summer of 2015 as they prepared for the July 20, 2019 anniversary date.
The measure passed on voice vote on Monday. After the vote, Posey explained why he brought out the bill.
“The United States remains the only country to have ever landed humans on a celestial body off the Earth and brought them home safely,” Posey said. “Passage of this bill honors that great feat and recognizes astronauts Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins, who made the historic journey. I would like to thank all of our cosponsors who worked to make this possible.”
Part of the proceeds from the sale of the coin will go to college scholarships for students majoring in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields. Proceeds will also go to space exploration education, the Astronauts Monument which honors astronauts killed in the line of duty and the National Air and Space Museum’s “Destination Moon” exhibit.
“I am honored to be a cosponsor of the Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. In addition to honoring the Apollo 11 crew members and everyone else who made this historic mission possible, the coins are a testament to America’s innovative spirit,” said Wilson. “More important, proceeds from the sale of the coin will help fund college scholarships for future astronauts, scientists and engineers, ensuring our great nation’s place as a leader of scientific and technological discovery.”
The moon landing was honored on both the Eisenhower and Susan B. Anthony dollar coins from the 1970s with the back of them showing the Apollo 11 emblem of an American eagle landing on the moon.
Almost 300 members of Congress joined Posey’s and Wilson’s bill as co-sponsors including every member of the Florida delegation. The bill now heads to the Senate where U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is the sponsor and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., is an original co-sponsor.