A time to reflect on the Speedmaster’s long relationship with NASA, and the unforgettable Apollo 13 mission
On October 5th 2015, OMEGA marked 45 years since NASA awarded it the prestigious “Silver Snoopy Award” in 1970. To mark the occasion, a Q&A session was held, along with a special evening event in a large-scale hanger in Tokyo. Apollo 13 Captain James Lovell, actor Yosuke Eguchi and astronaut Naoko Yamazaki were all invited, together with more than 200 guests.
Mr. Stephen Urquhart, President of OMEGA, greeted the guests. “I feel very happy to hold this special event in these amazing surroundings. The fact that the Apollo 13 crew safely returned to Earth and OMEGA contributed to that in a big way, I think it will be remembered even in 100 years.
After an unexpected explosion, the Apollo 13 moon landing was rendered impossible and furthermore the return trip to the Earth was even more precarious. In fact, the Speedmaster played a major role in helping the Apollo 13 crew return safely when the on board instruments were shut down to save power. This invaluable support prompted NASA to award OMEGA the Silver Snoopy Award, which is the highest non-governmental honour that can be received via NASA.
Commenting on the mission, Lovell said, “It was, in fact, the Speedmaster watch that played a major role in helping the Apollo 13 crew return safely to Earth when our onboard instruments were shut down to save power. I’m proud that we and the Speedmaster could turn the crisis into a successful return.”
Earlier in the day, Captain James Lovell also spoke at the NICOLAS G. HAYEK CENTRE in Ginza, where he talked about Apollo 13, as well as sharing his most memorable experiences. “One of the most significant sights we saw, that has perhaps left the greatest impression, was not the Moon, but the Earth. With just my thumb putting up against the window, I can completely hide the earth. And I realized that time looking at the Earth and seeing the surrounding environment, the moon, the sun, our solar system, I thought to myself how small we are and how very lucky we are.”
Known as "The Moonwatch", the OMEGA Speedmaster has travelled in unison with the most courageous and spirited astronauts in history. After surviving rigorous and extreme testing, the Speedmaster was declared "Flight Qualified" in 1965 for all manned-missions. Since then, it has accompanied astronauts on all of NASA’s six lunar landings, cementing an indestructible bond between it and space exploration.
Discover the Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award here.
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