Space Robotics Dominate New $5 Bill in Canada

In a world first, Canada’s Chris Hadfield unveiled a new money note — while in space.

Hadfield spun a fiver before the camera Tuesday as part of a ceremony to announce new $5 and $10 bills that will be distributed in Canada this year. The $5 bill will feature two pieces of Canadian technology that helped build the station: Canadarm2, which is a mobile robotic arm, and the hand-like Dextre.

The bill also shows an unidentified astronaut. That said, the choice to use Hadfield in the press conference was likely not a coincidence: Hadfield assisted with Canadarm2’s installation in 2001 when he became the first Canadian to walk in space.

“These bills will remind Canadians, every time they buy a sandwich and a coffee and a donut, what we are capable of achieving,” said Hadfield, who is in command of Expedition 35 on the International Space Station. His comments were carried on a webcast from the Bank of Canada.

The money note travelled with Hadfield in his Soyuz when he rocketed to the station in December, the Canadian Space Agency told Universe Today.

The polymer notes are intended to be more secure than the last generation of bills issued in Canada. Polymer $20, $50 and $100 bills are already available, but the smaller currencies won’t hit consumer pocketbooks until November.

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield holds a version of the $5 bill on the International Space Station. Credit: Bank of Canada (webcast)
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield holds a version of the $5 bill on the International Space Station. Credit: Bank of Canada (webcast)

“Featuring a sophisticated combination of transparency and holography, this is the most secure bank note series ever issued by the Bank of Canada. The polymer series is more economical, lasting at least two and half times longer than cotton-based paper bank notes, and will be recycled in Canada,” the Bank of Canada stated in a press release.

As with the past $5 bill, the opposite face of the new bill shows a drawing of past prime minister Wilfrid Laurier. Also shown at the ceremony: the $10 bill, with a Via Canada train on one side and John A. Macdonald, the first Canadian prime minister, on the other.

Both Jim Flaherty, Canada’s minister of finance, and Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney wore Expedition 35 pins at the press conference.

“I hope that’s not London calling,” Flaherty quipped to laughing reporters when NASA’s Mission Control phoned in with Hadfield on the line.

Hadfield is no stranger to space-themed currency. In 2006, the Royal Mint of Canada released two coins featuring him and Canadarm2. Hadfield and several other Canadian astronauts were also put on to Canadian stamps in 2003.

You can check out the full set of polymer bills on this Flickr series uploaded by the Bank of Canada.

10 Replies to “Space Robotics Dominate New $5 Bill in Canada”

  1. Stephen Harper (conservative) is censoring canadian scientists and radically cutting in research spendings since he got his majority in Ottawa.

    I like that new 5$ bill but it is a bit hypocrit coming out from this conservative government.

    1. I never realized that nor read about it lately. I am a hockey freak. I pay attention to our lil’sister to our north. I really disliked it when Prez Bush League put lines between our two countries. I get the reasoning but the tactics really sucks. I got family in the cities of Montreal, Quebec, & Moncton. They are all 3 great hockey cities just like New England is. I must keep up to date. Why I missed a few stories, I got no clue. Wrong news I suppose. ..take care now.

    2. Must be a bumb’d out scientist/engineer. No clue why anyone would check the ‘dislike’ area w/what we typed. Makes no sense. But it takes all kinds to make our world ‘go-round’. …take care Steve.

    1. I agree it looks cool. But I heard that the new material these bills are made out of can melt on a very hot day under certain conditions. Have you heard about this?

      1. Heard about it, though it doesn’t seem to be true. The polymer bills *can* melt, but it takes more than a hot day to do it. If you have them in your pocket beside your cell phone and you pull them out melted… you need a new phone, and be glad you had the money there to absorb the heat.

        The biggest criticism of the bills I’ve heard that’s actually true is that they’re ever so slightly sticky (cohesive), making it harder to count out bills.

      2. They actually don’t melt (unless you were to put a lighter to them). If they happen to get the the washing machine and dryer, the only thing they’ll do is shrink. In that case I think you take it to the bank and they give you a new one.

    1. I’m with you Philip. I’ve always thought American currency was boring compared to other countries.

  2. Well, I am. Well. . , I am simply – jealous! – check – before Canada will begin to print 5-dollar plastic, our Team, in Canada, has started 3D printing of Sterling Silver Lunar? Money in January 2013! See on:

    Team Plan B does not print plastic money! We print in Silver, coins! Far from a government and a space! And I am really-really jealous about second.

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