Would you think they put a man on the moon?

Yes, despite all these conspiracy theories, mankind has indeed entered the moon, and for the first time 50 years ago, on July 16, 1969, to be exact.

Five decades ago, the United States National Aerospace Association (Nasa) launched the Apollo 11 Saturn V spacecraft from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida with a crew of three consisting of commander Neil Armstrong, command pilot Michael Collins, and lunar module pilot Edwin "Buzz" E. Aldrin Jr. Four days later, Armstrong made the first small step of a man on the moon, making a giant leap for humanity.

On this occasion, Omega recently assembled a galaxy of celebrities, former astronauts, and watch connoisseurs at the Kennedy Space Center to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

The Golden Moments omega event took place under a massive Saturn V rocket, which brought Armstrong, Collins and Aldrin to legendary status and was led by Omega Brand Ambassador George Clooney.

Clooney was accompanied by two space legends – Thomas Stafford, a veteran of four NASA space missions and commander of Apollo 10; and Charles Duke, the capsule communicator for the crew of Apollo 11, who was 10th on the Moon in 1972.

Also present were NASA lights such as former astronauts Nicole Stott, Terry Virts and Jean-François Clervoy and former NASA engineer Jim Ragan.

To mark the golden anniversary of the moon landing, Omega also launched a 42mm Speedmaster in 18k Moonshine Gold – an exclusive new alloy that offers a brighter hue than traditional yellow gold and greater resistance to fading over time.

The design is full of lunar history, as well as advanced materials and a new movement: Omega's Master Chronometer Caliber 3861 – a manual retractable Omega Co-Axial escapement with gold-plated main plate and bridges by Moonshine and burgundy markings.

(From left) Former astronauts Jean-François Clervoy, Terry Virts, Nicole Stott and Thomas Stafford, actor and omega brand ambassador George Clooney, experienced NASA astronaut Charlie Duke, former NASA engineer James Ragan, and Raynald Aeschlimann, CEO of Omega.

(From left) Former astronauts Jean-François Clervoy, Terry Virts, Nicole Stott and Thomas Stafford, actor and omega brand ambassador George Clooney, experienced NASA astronaut Charlie Duke, former NASA engineer James Ragan, and Raynald Aeschlimann, CEO of Omega. Photo: Omega

NASA certified

What is the connection between Nasa and Omega? Simple – Omega has the title of being the first watch on the Moon, and the honor of being the first watch certified by NASA as "Flight Qualified for All Manned Space Missions."

The three crew members of the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing mission (from left) are Neil A. Armstrong, Michael Collins and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. – Courtesy of NASA

But how do you decide what kind of clock can be brought into space and back? Any equipment used on NASA's missions must withstand a variety of extreme conditions. One is the reentry into the Earth, which Duke calls a "spectacular ride," but which can be fatal to the astronauts, even if a tiny thing went awry.

Explaining the subtle limits the astronauts faced on reentry, Duke recalled that he had to approach the Earth's atmosphere at exactly four degrees, no more, no less.
"Too shallow, and you would bounce, and too sharp, you burn at 3,000 ° F (about 1,650 ° C)," he explained during a series of NASA lights conversations during the day.

Upon entering, the capsule becomes a "fireball with more than seven and a half Gs", so every single device in this vehicle must withstand this extreme situation. Including the watches on the wrists of the astronauts.

In 1964, NASA's program office called for a watch that could do just that, and NASA's former aerospace engineer Jim Ragan was responsible for finding it.

"The very first job they gave me (when I came to Nasa) was" We need a clock, "recalls Ragan, who spent 36 years with Nasa before retiring in 1999. "And it quickly became clear that they were not. I just want every clock, but also a clock, with which they could have time."

So, Ragan promised 10 different watch manufacturers to buy a wrist chronograph, but only four of them sent watches that needed testing. One of the watches, however, was immediately disqualified because it was a pocket watch and not a wristwatch.

The other three were subjected to 10 different tests including moisture, corrosion, shock, vibration, acceleration, pressure and extreme temperatures between 93 ° C and -18 ° C.

According to Ragan, two watches did not pass the high-temperature tests, but the Omega Speedmaster has managed to withstand every single test that it has been able to perform. "I was surprised I could get any clocks from these tests, it was the most extreme testing you could do with a piece of hardware," he added.

On March 1, 1965, Nasa officially declared the Omega Speedmaster "the flight qualified for all manned space missions" and has maintained this status ever since.

The spacecraft Apollo 11 is launched in 196 from the Kennedy Space Center, the first lunar landing mission in the United States. – Courtesy of NASA

The space-time connection

If you're still not sure how important a good and reliable watch is in space, think about it – the 1970 Omega Speedmaster saved the lives of Apollo 13's astronauts Hanks, who says, "Houston, we have a problem ".

As a third moon landing, Apollo 13 at 56 hours went through a catastrophic chain of events that paralyzed the lunar module's life support and energy system, forcing the crew to use the moon's gravity to plan a return to Earth.

However, one problem was that when the electrical system failed, they had to rely on the lunar module's manually controlled descent engine and made course corrections of 14 seconds during the flight with the Omega Speedmaster by astronaut Jim Swiggert. This approach eventually allowed them to safely return to Earth's atmosphere, and this particular clock was engraved on the legend.

In a less stressful example of the importance of having a reliable watch in space, former astronaut Nicole Scott said her Omega X33 standard watch was the only one she had during her two space missions with the Space Shuttle Discovery and Endeavor all day kept on course and also on the International Space Station.

"Fly in space, there's this interesting idea of ​​time in general, traveling at a speed of 17,500 miles per hour (28,163.52 km / h) and orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes! We get 16 beautiful sunsets and sunrises every day She remembers, "Since we basically work 16 times a day and at night, we need to be guided by the time of our watches, so my watch was the only thing that kept me busy all day."

But back to the moonwatch. A year later, after Nasa awarded the Speedmaster the seal, astronaut Ed White was the first American to walk in space, and he wore a Speedmaster on his wrist. In fact, the Speedmaster was in each of NASA's manned missions, including those in the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs.

By 1969, NASA had adopted the latest versions of the Speedmaster, including the ST 105.012 and ST 145.012 models, worn by the Apollo 11 astronauts during the mission.

Although Armstrong was the first man on the moon, Aldrin was the one who made the Omega Speedmaster the first watch on the Moon, as Armstrong had left his watch in the Lunar Module.

At 03:15:16 UTC (Coordinated Universal Time) on July 21, 1969, Buzz Aldrin was the second man on the moon wearing his watch on his wrist. So the Omega Speedmaster became the first watch worn on the moon, and the legend of the moon clock was born.

Since that fateful day, the clock has returned to the moon for all other moon landings, including Apollo 12 (1969), Apollo 14 (1971), Apollo 15 (1971), Apollo 16 (1972) and Apollo 17 (1972). , So far, only 12 men have run on the moon and the Speedmaster was there with every step. What was a giant leap for humanity was also a moment that consolidated the place of a clock in history.