World Coins

Belgium plans €2 coin for satellite's anniversary

Belgium marks the 50th anniversary of a research satellite with a circulating commemorative €2 coin in October.

Coin image courtesy of the European Commission.

Fifty years ago, the European satellite ESRO 2B was launched to detect X-rays from nonsolar sources.

To mark the 50th anniversary since the launch of ESRO 2B, Belgium is issuing a circulating commemorative €2 coin in October.

The satellite is named for the agency responsible for its mission, the European Space Research Organisation.


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The astrophysical spin-stabilised research satellite was launched March 6, 1968, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. 

The satellite (also known as IRIS, for International Radiation Investigation Satellite) is seen orbiting the Earth on the obverse of the new coin.

The dates 1968 and 2018 appear, as well as the names ESRO 2B and IRIS.

The common reverse shows a map of the European Union.

The ringed-bimetallic coin has a copper-nickel core and copper-aluminum-nickel ring.

The coin’s outer ring depicts the 12 stars of the European flag. 

The €2 coin weighs 8.5 grams and measures 25.75 millimeters in diameter.

Each nation is allowed to issue up to two different circulating commemorative designs annually, with designs of their choosing, though few nations issue the maximum number of designs.

Joint euro programs like the 2015 coins honoring the 30th anniversary of flag of the European Union do not count toward this limit.

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