Russia - 2,000 rubles

Russia - 2,000 rubles - 2017 - PNL

This newly announced banknote has Spaceport "Vostochny" on the back as well as a rocket. The Vostochny Cosmodrome is a Russian spaceport under construction on the 51st parallel north in the Amur Oblast, in the Russian Far East. When completed in 2018, it is intended to reduce Russia's dependency on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The first launch took place on 28 April 2016. My guess is that the rocket shown on the banknote is the Soyuz-2 rocket which was launched that day.

Steven | Friday 13 October 2017 at 09:05 am | | space | No comments
Used tags: , ,

Scotland (RBS) - 10 pound

Scotland (Royal Bank of Scotland) - 10 Pound - 2017 - PNL

The Scottish note features the Scottish scientist and astronomer Mary Somerville. Mary Fairfax Somerville (26 December 1780 – 29 November 1872) was a Scottish science writer and polymath. She studied mathematics and astronomy, and was nominated to be jointly the first female member of the Royal Astronomical Society at the same time as Caroline Herschel. When John Stuart Mill, the British philosopher and economist, organised a massive petition to Parliament to give women the right to vote, he had Mary put her signature first on the petition. When she died in 1872, Mary Somerville was hailed by The Morning Post as "The Queen of Nineteenth-Century Science".

The launch of the new note has been quite spectacular because in honor of Mary Somerville the note was launched not only into circulation but also into space by the Royal Bank of Scotland!

Steven | Wednesday 11 October 2017 at 10:44 am | | space | No comments

India - 2,000 rupees

India - 2,000 rupees - 2016 - PNL

The front of the note shows the familiar face of Mahatma Ghandi. The back shows the Mars Orbital Mission (or Mangalyaan) space probe launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation in 2013 and orbiting the planet Mars.

Steven | Friday 11 November 2016 at 3:31 pm | | space | No comments
Used tags: , , ,

China - 100 yuan

China - 100 yuan - 2015 - PNL

The front of the note depicts the Shenzhou 9 spacecraft docking with the Tiangong 1 space station, which occured on 18 June 2012. To the left we can see the Dongfanghong 1, China's first satellite launched in 1970. On the right side is the Chang'e 1 lunar-orbiting spacecraft. The back of the note shows a sort of ladder with the different stages of flight, starting at the bottom with a bird, above that an early plane by Chinese aviation pioneer Feng Ru. Next we have a fighter jet, then the future Tiangong 3 space station which will be launched in 2020 and at the top we see the Chang'e 1 lunar-orbiting spacecraft again.

Steven | Monday 09 November 2015 at 8:51 pm | | space | No comments

Iran - 50,000 rial

Iran - 50,000 rial - 2015 - PNL


On the back it shows a tree next to the entrance to Teheran University. In the background we can make out the famous double-helix structure of DNA. The poem reads: "Capable is / the one who is wise / Knowledge makes / the old heart young" by Ferdowsi and we see the planet Saturn.

Steven | Wednesday 04 November 2015 at 11:19 am | | space | No comments
Used tags: ,

Iraq - 250 dinar

Iraq - 250 dinar - 2003-2004 - P91

This note from Iraq shows an astrolabe on the front.

Steven | Wednesday 18 March 2015 at 09:25 am | | space | No comments
Used tags: ,

Serbia - 2,000 dinar

Serbia - 2,000 dinara - 2011 - P61

This note shows the Serbian mathematician, astronomer, climatologist, geophysicist, civil engineer, doctor of technology, university professor and popularizer of science Milutin Milankovic (1879 - 1958).

Milankovic gave two fundamental contributions to global science. The first contribution is the "Canon of the Earth’s Insolation", which characterizes the climates of all the planets of the Solar system. The second contribution is the explanation of Earth's long-term climate changes caused by changes in the position of the Earth in comparison to the Sun, now known as Milankovitch cycles. This explained the ice ages occurring in the geological past of the Earth, as well as the climate changes on the Earth which can be expected in the future. He founded planetary climatology by calculating temperatures of the upper layers of the Earth's atmosphere as well as the temperature conditions on planets of the inner Solar system, Mercury, Venus, Mars, and the Moon, as well as the depth of the atmosphere of the outer planets. He demonstrated the interrelatedness of celestial mechanics and the Earth sciences, and enabled consistent transition from celestial mechanics to the Earth sciences and transformation of descriptive sciences into exact ones (source).

The front of the note depicts a portrait of Milutin Milankovic, the figure of Milutin Milankovic sitting at his work desk and a graphic presentation of his calculations of movement of the snow line for the past portion of the Quarternary of 600.000 years. The back of the note shows the figure of Milutin Milankovic, a fragment of a stylised presentation of the sun disk and a presentation of Milankovic’s work "The Path of the North Celestial Pole".

Steven | Wednesday 18 March 2015 at 08:58 am | | space | No comments

Fiji - 2000 dollars

Fiji - 2000 dollars - 2000 - P103

This absolutely beautiful note was issued by the Reserve Bank of Fiji in 1999 to commemorate the new Milennium. Fiji was then, in the year 2000, the first country to see the new Millennium (now it would be Western Samoa). This note was issued as a lot of just 2000 pieces and sold at a premium. The current highest denomination in Fiji is 100 dollar so this banknote, though official legal tender, won't have seen much circulation.

On the back of the note we can see a stunning image of our planet as seen from space.

(Images from

Steven | Friday 07 March 2014 at 12:30 pm | | space | No comments
Used tags: ,

West African States - 10,000 francs

West African States - 10,000 francs - 2003 - pick nr. differs by country

This 10,000 francs banknote from the West African States is issued in Ivory Coast, Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo and Guinea-Bissau. The notes in this 2003 series all have different themes. This highest denomination has telecommunication as its theme which is symbolised by images of a satellite and a satellite dish.

Steven | Thursday 23 January 2014 at 09:58 am | | space | No comments

USA - Military Payments Certificates 1969

United States of America - 5/10/25/50 cents - 1969 - PM75/PM76/PM77/PM78

Military payment certificates, or MPC, was a form of currency used to pay U.S. military personnel in certain foreign countries. It was used in one area or another from a few months after the end of World War II until a few months after the end of U.S. participation in the Vietnam War, from 1946 until 1973.

Thirteen series of MPC were issued between 1946 and 1973, with varied designs often compared to Monopoly money due to their colors. After the official end of U.S. participation in the Vietnam War in early 1973, the only place where MPC remained in use was South Korea. In autumn of 1973, a surprise conversion day was held there, retiring MPC and substituting greenbacks. MPC was never again issued, and the concept lay dormant until the late 1990s, when it was revived somewhat in the form of a Stored Value Card system, used by U.S. armed forces in Iraq.

This series from 1969 show an astronaut on the back of the notes conducting a spacewalk above planet Earth. The first spacewalk by an American astronaut was done in 1965 by Ed White, about three months after kosmonaut Alexey Leonov performed the very first spacewalk ever.

You can see the rest of the notes after the click:

Read on

Steven | Thursday 23 January 2014 at 09:45 am | | space | No comments

United Kingdom - 1 pound

United Kingdom - 1 pound - 1978-1984 - P377

The back of this 1 pound note from the United Kingdom shows one of the most famous scientists of all time: Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727). He was a physicist and mathematician and a key figure in the scientific revolution. His book Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica ("Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy"), first published in 1687, laid the foundations for most of classical mechanics. Newton's Principia formulated the laws of motion and universal gravitation that dominated scientists' view of the physical universe for the next three centuries. It also demonstrated that the motion of objects on the Earth and that of celestial bodies could be described by the same principles. By deriving Kepler's laws of planetary motion from his mathematical description of gravity, Newton removed the last doubts about the validity of the heliocentric model of the cosmos. Newton built the first practical reflecting telescope. Besides his scientific career he also served the British government as Warden and Master of the Royal Mint.

The back of this fine note shows Newton next to an image of a heliocentric solar system. We can also see his telescope.

Steven | Thursday 23 January 2014 at 09:27 am | | space | No comments

Turkey - 5 lira

Turkey - 5 lira - 2009 - P222

The front of this notes depicts, like all Turkish notes, President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938). The reverse shows Prof. Dr. Aydin Sayili (1913-1993) along with diagrams of the solar system, symbols of an atom and DNA. Sayili was a Turkish historian of science. He was interested in many areas of science history, mainly the history of astronomy and conducted unique studies in this field. In 1960 he published his masterpiece "Observatory in Islam and Its General Place in the History of the Observatory".

Steven | Thursday 23 January 2014 at 09:08 am | | space | No comments
Used tags: , ,

Tunisia - 10 dinars

Tunisia - 10 dinars - 2005 - P90

This 10 dinars note from Tunisia shows the El Abidine Mosque in Carthage on the front as well as a portrait of the Phoenician princess Elyssa, founder of Carthage. The back shows a satellite dish next to the Roman ruins in Dougga, linking the past and present of Tunisia.

Steven | Thursday 23 January 2014 at 08:58 am | | space | No comments
Used tags: ,

Thailand - 50 baht

Thailand - 50 baht - 2004 - P112

Thai banknotes usually honour the present and past monarchs. This 50 baht note has the present King Bhumibol Adulyadej in the uniform of the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces on the front. The back shows King Mongkut (1804-1868), who is most famous in the West for being the king depicted in the movie "The King and I". His full name is Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramenthra Maha Mongkut Phra Chom Klao Chao Yu Hua, so let's stick to King Mongkut.

During his reign, the pressure of Western expansionism was felt for the first time in Siam. Mongkut embraced Western innovations and initiated the modernization of Siam, both in technology and culture, earning him the nickname "The Father of Science and Technology" in Siam. On the banknote we can see a telescope as a symbol of this scientific attitude.

Steven | Wednesday 22 January 2014 at 12:16 pm | | space | No comments
Used tags: ,

Switzerland - 1000 francs (proposal)

These Swiss 1000 francs notes are part of a series which has been chosen by the Swiss National Bank as the new series of banknotes for the future. The final design will however be a little different from the one proposed here by designer Manuela Pfrunder. In this note we can see a satellite but if this will still be present in the final design is unknown at this moment. The final design won't be shown until shortly before the release of the new series (in 2015 at the earliest). The rest of the series by Pfrunder can be viewed here.

It is however remarkable to know that this wasn't the winner of the design competition: she won the 2nd prize behind winner Manuel Krebs. His entire series can be seen here. But I would like to point specifically to his beautiful 200 francs note:

Steven | Wednesday 22 January 2014 at 12:01 pm | | space | No comments