Omega Speedmaster Professional Missions Gemini XII
The OMEGA Speedmaster Professional is a legend. Astronauts relied on their Speedmasters for every manned NASA space mission, and the moon landing, while a special highlight, was not the first time the watch had been used in space. In 1962, astronaut Walter Schirra took his private Speedmaster into space and completed six orbits of the Earth on the Mercury-Atlas 8 mission. After extensive testing, the Speedmaster became official NASA equipment in 1965 and was henceforth approved for all manned space missions. During the Gemini 4 mission, Ed White performed the first American spacewalk, accompanied, of course, by a Speedmaster. In 1966, OMEGA added the designation "Professional" and, after the moon landing in 1969, the words "First Watch worn on the Moon", underscoring the Speedmaster's unique status and exceptional accomplishment. However, the watch passed its actual "baptism of fire" only two missions later. In April 1970, part of Apollo 13's service module exploded, and the power, electrical and life support systems were severely damaged and partially destroyed.
The crew had to first orbit the moon with the damaged spacecraft and then make their way back to Earth. All power circuits except radio were shut down to conserve energy for life support systems. The crew was forced to use their Omega Speedmaster watches to time the rocket ignition for re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. Jim Lovell and Fred Haise manually piloted the space shuttle, while Jack Swigert used his Speedmaster to time the burns correctly. As we know, this more than delicate situation ultimately turned out well and the capsule landed in the Pacific Ocean unharmed. This achievement by the Speedmaster Professional earned OMEGA the Snoopy Award, which is the highest honor awarded by NASA astronauts to external partner companies and suppliers. And this achievement ultimately gave the Speedmaster Professional its legendary status.