In the predawn hours of July 21st, 2011, a puff of smoke can be seen emanating from the tires of the Space Shuttle Atlantis as it makes contact with the runway pavement against a pitch-black backdrop, completing the final landing of the 30-year run of the Space Shuttle Program and ending a chapter in the exploratory saga of a spacefaring nation.
Having retired the Space Shuttle program, the United States has been relying on Russia Soyuz spacecraft to ferry its astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) for the better part of a decade at the cost of approximately $80 million per passenger, per leg, while the next chapter in American spaceflight was inching off the drawing board to the manufacturing floor.
NASA envisioned a partnership with private enterprise to someday return astronauts to space, partnering with Boeing and SpaceX to build a manned craft to launch and return astronauts to low earth orbit. While the Boeing Starliner is still in the testing phase, the SpaceX Crew Dragon is on the precipice of launching a crew into space from US soil for the first time since 2011.
While the United States may have gotten off to a rough start in the fledgling years of manned spaceflight, it solidified itself as the dominant force in space with the Apollo missions. From the historic flight of Apollo 8 in 1968 to the last footprint of Eugene Cernan left on the surface of the moon in 1972, the peak of mankind’s reach for the heavens stood on the solid foundation of US policy and ingenuity.
The Apollo program was also a great point of pride for Omega watches. Buzz Aldrin wore an Omega Speedmaster watch on the surface of the moon during the Apollo 11 mission, followed by several other astronauts aboard subsequent moon missions throughout the Apollo program. Omega has celebrated this achievement with a series of Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch editions.
With an eye ever-skyward, Omega has continued its partnerships to expand mankind’s horizons. Omega was a key partner in the Solar Impulse project achieved the first around the world flight using only solar energy in 2014, a partnership that yielded the production of the Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33.
With NASA and SpaceX leading the way, the US is ready to launch the SpaceX Falcon 9 Crew Dragon on a 19-hour journey to the International Space Station. Atop the Falcon, towering over the iconic launch pad 39-A at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, FL, NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley work on their pre-flight check to ensure all systems are ready to launch them on the Demo 2 mission. The astronauts have one essential tool on board which has already been tested to perfection, the Omega Speedmaster Skywalker X-33.
A historic US return to manned spaceflight has been much anticipated for years, and a nation sits on the edge of its seat in anticipation of the first manned launch of a government-private industry partnership. The launch is slated for 3:22 p.m. Eastern Time on May 30th, and a nation eagerly anticipates this first step of our return to manned spaceflight.
A much-needed breath of hope in the trying times of the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic, a resurgence of American leadership in the field of manned spaceflight has drawn the gaze of millions of eyes, carrying on its shoulders the hope of a nation. From our family at AuthenticWatches.com, Godspeed to the crew of the Falcon 9, America’s return to mankind’s final frontier.