Representing, in part, some of the best Omega Speedmaster Replica Watches of their generation, Apollo astronauts “flew” in a fragile tin can borne atop a giant rocket that carried them away from every conceptual and literal link to home and life as you and I know it. They had trained for years to blast into uncharted territory, protected by only a thin metal shell from the unrelenting vacuum of space, with the lofty hopes of setting foot on the Moon.In contrast, by the time they made it to their mission, Apollo astronauts were anything but passengers along for a wild ride. The risks were astronomical and their goal anything but routine.
Once underway, my only duties are to relax, read a book and likely eat more food and drink more coffee than my hunger warrants. To force the term, my “mission” is to act as cargo for roughly four and a half hours until arriving in Houston, wherein Omega has invited me to a celebration of Apollo 13, the Omega Speedmaster Replica, and a few of the actual people that ferried their iconic chronograph into the final frontier and then relied upon its mechanical capabilities to bring them home.The risks are negligible and my “training” can be effectively ignored for about three minutes as the plane taxis to the correct runway.
One of the tools that brought them home was the Omega Speedmaster, a mechanical chronograph watch that allowed the crew to time the course corrections required to keep their ship pointing towards Earth. But even after suffering a mission-ending systems failure and despite all odds, Apollo 13 had all of the brain-power and tools required to make it back to Earth with no loss of life. With their guidance computer turned off to preserve battery power for re-entry, the Omega Speedmaster played a major role in ensuring that Apollo 13 was both a “Successful Failure” and one of the most impressive achievements of skill, ingenuity and teamwork in NASA’s history.By today’s standard’s, Apollo went to the Moon and back with little more processing power than a calculator and the invaluable support of Mission Control.
Perhaps a brief re-cap is required for those of you who don’t remember the broad details of the Apollo 13 mission. Two days after their April 11th, 1970 launch from Kennedy Space Center in Florida, an oxygen tank in the Command Module exploded, forcing the crew to abort their Moon attempt, abandon the crippled Command Service Module (CSM), and return home in their Lunar Module (LM). The Omega Replica was not designed to support three people for a 4-day trip, so the astronauts worked with Mission Control to develop special procedures to conserve fuel, battery power, oxygen, and water. With the LM running on minimal resources and well outside of tested usage, Apollo 13 circled the Moon and set a course to limp home with just enough of the ship turned on the keep its precious cargo alive. In short, Apollo 13 was the 7th manned mission within the Apollo program and should have taken Commander Jim Lovell, Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert and Lunar Module Pilot Fred Haise to the Moon and back.