MISSION CONTROL: THE GREAT SPACE CLEAN UP

OMEGA HAS JOINED FORCES WITH CLEARSPACE IN SUPPORT OF THEIR MISSION TO REMOVE DANGEROUS SPACE DEBRIS.

Swiss luxury watch brand Omega, the makers of the first watch worn on the moon, are returning to space. This time the brand is on a clean-up mission.  

Omega President and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann with Swiss astronaut and member of the Swatch Group Board of Directors, Prof Claude Nicollier, and the CEO of ClearSpace, Luc Piguet.

 

Omega has a long and distinguished history with the great big void above. It goes back to 1965 when the Omega Speedmaster was chosen by NASA as the only chronograph certified for all manned space missions. The watch was first worn in space by Mercury astronaut Wally Schirra in 1963. 

SPACE SUSTAINABILITY 

Now Omega is collaborating with ClearSpace to perform the first ever capture and removal of an uncontrolled space satellite: stage one of a long-term project to create an affordable service for space junk removal. A huge percentage of the thousands of satellites orbiting Earth are obsolete and present risks of explosions or collisions with other satellites. Keeping space clean is just one step in the right direction to ensure a more sustainable future.  

Artistic impressions of the ClearSpace-1 mission: capture of an obsolete and tumbling object in space.

 

ClearSpace SA technology will be used to deorbit objects that threaten space operations. The space agency also provides in-orbit services to support institutions and commercial operators to accomplish space sustainability. In 2020, ClearSpace signed a contract with the European Space Agency worth €86m for the first space rubble removal mission in 2025. 

PROTECTING THE PLANET 

“The ClearSpace initiative is one of the most important, inspiring and exciting projects since the launch of the Apollo missions,” said Omega President and CEO Raynald Aeschlimann, who described the partnership as “the logical next step for a brand with a proud history of both space exploration and Earth conservation.”  

Omega has joined forces with Clearspace in support of their mission to remove dangerous space debris.
Artistic impressions of the ClearSpace-1 mission: capture of an obsolete and tumbling object in space.

 

Omega has been spearheading positive change for many years. Its partnership with the GoodPlanet Foundation led to a host of impactful documentaries and joint conservation projects under the banner Time for the Planet. It also supports Nekton, a not-for-profit research foundation committed to the protection of the world’s oceans, and is involved in the mapping of the ocean floor through its support for the 5 Deeps Expedition. 

TAKING A WATCH TO THE MOON 

A whole set of different tests were done to initially qualify the Omega Speedmaster hardware. “It wasn’t intended for watches, for sure — it was hot, cold, shake, rattle and roll and we had temperatures cycling up and down – and it passed all the testing that we did,” said former NASA engineer James Ragan who did the tests. Ragan was also responsible for repeating some of the tests when NASA moved on to its later programmes, including the Skylab orbital workshop and space shuttle. 

“I would suspect that the longest piece of NASA equipment — since it has been doing a very good job for all these years — is really the Speedmaster,” Gemini and Apollo astronaut Jim Lovell, one of only three people to date to fly to the moon twice, said in a video released by Omega. 

The 42mm Speedmaster Moonwatch in stainless steel, powered by Omega’s Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 3861

 

ON THE BIG SCREEN 

Last year, the new Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional was unveiled. Its design was inspired by the Omega chronograph worn by Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins in 1969. The famous Moonwatch also made an appearance on the big screen in February this year in the sci-fi thriller film Moonfall, in which actor Patrick Wilson wears the Speedmaster in his role as a former NASA astronaut.  

Patrick Wilson in Moonfall wearing the 42mm Speedmaster Moonwatch in stainless steel, powered by Omega’s Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 3861.

 

Omega is not the only luxury brand in the movie. Lexus also features prominently throughout the film – the hero being the 2022 Lexus NX. The all-new NX is driven by Charlie Plummer’s character, Sonny Harper, in a three-minute, high-action scene. The Lexus GX 460 luxury SUV makes an appearance as the government vehicle used to transport Halle Berry’s character, Jo Fowler, while Michael Peña’s character, Tom Lopez, is a Lexus dealer, and the film includes a scene at his dealership.

The new Lexus NX plays a starring role in the sci-fi thriller, Moonfall.

Image credits: ClearSpace, OMEGA, Lionsgate

The makers of the first watch worn on the moon are now helping to clean up space.

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