News detail

12 May 2015

A fascinating visit to NASA celebrates OMEGA's dedication to space


Bringing together nearly 200 guests from around the world, OMEGA proudly relives its history of space exploration with a special tour of NASA in Houston.

Ever since the first moon landing in 1969, OMEGA has been a trusted partner in space exploration. The Speedmaster, in particular, has become an enduring icon. As the first watch ever worn on the moon, it has accompanied astronauts on all six lunar landings, solidifying its reputation as the integral link between OMEGA and NASA.

In celebration of this rich backstory, OMEGA proudly joined NASA for a special tour of the Space Centre and Mission Control on May the 12th this year, where guests were treated to a truly unique experience.

One particular highlight was the opportunity to relive the famous line "Houston, we have a problem", sent by the Apollo 13 mission 45 years ago. It was, in fact, the Speedmaster watch that played a major role in helping the Apollo 13 crew return safely to Earth when their onboard instruments were shut down to save power. For this invaluable support, OMEGA received the Silver Snoopy Award, the highest honour a non-governmental entity can receive from NASA.

Following the tour, OMEGA President Stephen Urquhart, along with Astronauts General Thomas Stafford and Captain James Lovell, engaged in a captivating Q&A session led by Lily Koppel, author of the book “The Astronaut’s Wives Club”. 

Beyond the support of the Apollo 13 mission, one guest asked how the OMEGA watches were used in-flight. General Stafford responded, “Accuracy was so important, every move we’d make was calculated. The watch was an integral part of all of our activities.” 

Captain Lovell recounted the frightening tale of his Apollo 13 experience sharing, “it was necessary to maneuver without the use of our equipment, we had to burn the engine for 14 seconds in order to course correct so we used the watch to time the burn of the engine and return safely.”

When one guest inquired about the tests needed to pass inspection, Mr. Urquhart responded, “the Speedmaster was not developed specifically for space travel, however, when NASA was looking for an official watch, the OMEGA Professional Speedmaster already had all the functions they needed.

More information about OMEGA and Space here.