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55 years ago... compared in space Omega versus Bulova...

  1. SpeedyPhill

    SpeedyPhill asked ages ago but no longer interested Apr 22, 2018

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    Between April 1962 & April 1963, astronaut Leroy "Gordo" Cooper had been training over a year for the final one-man mission of NASA's Mercury project... first as a backup for MA-8, Walter Schirra's "Sigma-7" mission and then as prime pilot for the MA-9 " Faith-7" mission.
    September 1962 photos already showed Cooper wearing 2 wrist watches during the weight & balance tests, so we can easily identify these as a Bulova Accutron "Astronaut" tuning fork watch, given to each (?) of the Mercury 7 astronauts, and an Omega Speedmaster CK-2998-4 manual winding chronograph.
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    By March 1963, clear photos appeared showing Gordon Cooper and his back-up Alan Bartlett Shepard (the first American in space aboard MR-3 "Freedom-7" in May 1961, wearing no watch at all during this sub-orbital mission) training together for the MA-9 "Faith-7" mission both wearing a Bulova Accutron "Astronaut" wrist watch...
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    1963_Accutron.jpg
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    Here's a photo dated March 6, 1963 showing astronaut Leroy Cooper getting help from NASA suit technician Al Rochford to put on Cooper's personal Omega Speedmaster CK-2998-4 chronograph over the left hand wrist of the modified Mercury spacesuit as Cooper didn't wear the convex mirror nor the life vest on his chest... The suit also incorporated a new version of the urine containment device
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    1963_Speedmaster.jpg
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    As the MA-10 mission was cancelled, Cooper's flight was the final Mercury mission and it was planned as a long duration 24 hours+ mission, so Cooper could conduct a large number of experiments ranging from radiation & temperature measurements, photography and TV-coverage from inside the capsule.
    Moreover, Cooper decided to compare both wristwatches he was wearing during that historic mission ::popcorn::
    It would take two launch attempts as on the 14th May 1963, launch was scrubbed due to problems with the tracking station in the Bermudas...
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    1963_Speedmaster4.jpg
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    Leroy "Gordo" Cooper wore the Bulova Accutron "Astronaut" on his right wrist and his Omega Speedmaster CK-2998-4 on the left wrist... both on a shiny steel mesh Komfit Forstner bracelet...
     
  2. alam

    alam Apr 22, 2018

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    And now ladies and gentlemen, we can pinpoint the origins of the improved and more reliable "Pee Bottle" A2 model :)

    any idea on the results of this comparison? ::confused2::
     
  3. TLIGuy

    TLIGuy Apr 22, 2018

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    Nice work @SpeedyPhill

    I would only make one small correction. Cooper's flight occurs in 1963 during the period that JB Champion acquires Forstner. Cooper actually wears a JB Champion stamped bracelet and not a Komfit Forstner bracelet on the Speedmaster. I would be inclined to say the Bulova as well as both appear to have been modified with the extra length to accommodate the suit glove diameter.

    As you can see in the image from the National Air and Space museum collection Cooper's Speedmaster and JB Champion Bracelet.

    Cooper NASA.jpg

    If you enlarge the image and flip it over you can see the end portion of the 3 lined JB stamp on the back side of the clasp.

    Cooper2 NASA.jpg

    The full 3 line JB Champion stamp looks like this with the outlined portion as seen on Cooper's bracelet.

    JB Clasp.jpg

    The additional length addition to the Cooper JB Champion bracelet was discussed here.
     
    Edited Apr 22, 2018
  4. SpeedyPhill

    SpeedyPhill asked ages ago but no longer interested Apr 22, 2018

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    @TLIGuy
    Thanks for the correction, I didn't know for sure if both were Jacoby Bender Champion bracelets as Cooper was seen wearing these already in September 1962 and Komfir Forstner was acquired by JB Champion in early 1963 ::book::

    @alam
    Stay tuned as May 15th 2018 is a SpeedyTuesday and this topic will reveal all :thumbsup:
     
  5. Foo2rama

    Foo2rama Keeps his worms in a ball instead of a can. Apr 22, 2018

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    Hmm waking up early or not sleeping and watching Instagram....
     
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  6. Tet

    Tet I prefer Dilmah do try it Apr 23, 2018

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    Very good, love that bottom pic with Cooper sporting both the 2998 and the Astronaut.
     
  7. SpeedyPhill

    SpeedyPhill asked ages ago but no longer interested May 1, 2018

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    @alam
    When Gordon Cooper boarded Faith 7 at 6:36 AM on May 14, 1963 he found a little gift that had been left for him by Alan Shepard, knowing that Cooper would have a new version of the urine containment device that Shepard did not have on his May 1961 MR-3 flight, forcing him to relieve himself during a long countdown hold with his warm liquids running back his spine. Shepard had left behind a toilet plunger as a joke, with "Remove Before Flight" instructions on the handle. The gift, nor Cooper did make the trip as the MA-9 mission was postponed to the next day...

    @Tet
    If You like that photo, check my MoonwatchUniverse Tumblr blog where I have uploaded a selection of preflight MA-9 NASA photos, clearly showing Cooper's personal wrist watches: https://moonwatchuniverse.tumblr.com/archive
     
  8. SpeedyPhill

    SpeedyPhill asked ages ago but no longer interested May 8, 2018

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    Gordon Cooper mission lasted 1 Day 10 Hours 19 Minutes and during 22 orbits he had a lot of time on his hands, he even ended up to be the first American astronaut to sleep in Low Earth Orbit. Before the mission, he set himself a goal of comparing both his personal wrist watches during the long duration MA-9 “Faith-7” mission…
    After three hours into the mission, Cooper tried to synchronize the onboard clock with the ground control clock and mentioned both of his wrist watches were a bit slow. It looks like the Accutron and Omega performed in the same way, although 36 years later, in his book “Leap of Faith – An Astronaut’s Journey into the Unknown (2000 - Harpertorch), Cooper inferred that the Omega Speedmaster chronograph lagged a bit behind the Accutron Astronaut tuning fork wrist watch. I have no idea how he came up with this… as none of the mission reports nor NASA SP-45 mention the comparison of wrist watches.
    Although an electric power short-circuit meant that an automatic re-entry could not be made, it’s interesting to note that neither of the wrist watches was used to time the de-orbit burn as the CapCom relayed the exact timing to fire the 3 solid rockets, which burned until exhausted of fuel… It was the first complete manual re-entry in space history and the capsule landed within 6 kilometers from US Navy recovery ship USS Kearsarge.
    Last but not least I would like to point out a detail as photos showing Cooper leaving the capsule show that at some instant of the flight, he must have rotated the Omega Speedmaster chronograph as it appears on the inner side of his left wrist while the Accutron Astronaut wrist watch remained on the upper side of his right wrist…
     
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  9. SpeedyPhill

    SpeedyPhill asked ages ago but no longer interested May 12, 2018

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  10. alam

    alam May 12, 2018

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    88C208CA-8671-4AFF-AE55-BB3025C45284.jpeg
  11. SpeedyPhill

    SpeedyPhill asked ages ago but no longer interested May 15, 2018

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    1963.jpg
    55 years ago to the day... Mercury-Atlas 9 nicknamed Faith-7 was launched
    In that year Komfit Forstner was taken over by Jacoby Bender Champion and the steel mesh bracelets became favorite with NASA astronauts of both Gemini & Apollo programs.
    JB Champion still look great on modern day Speedmasters...
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    1963_JBchampion.jpg
     
  12. SpeedyPhill

    SpeedyPhill asked ages ago but no longer interested May 17, 2018

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    Topic wouldn't be complete without the Accutron Astronaut on a vintage JB Champion steel mesh bracelet
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    JBchampion_Accutron.jpg
     
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  13. Waltesefalcon

    Waltesefalcon May 17, 2018

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    I am kind of happy that Bulova lost out to Omega, I think the Astronaut is a much cooler watch and I wouldn't be able to afford one if it had been the watch worn during the Apollo program.
     
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  14. SpeedyPhill

    SpeedyPhill asked ages ago but no longer interested Aug 13, 2018

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    FYI currently a correct Accutron Astronaut (running) with correct steel mesh JB Champion strap goes about US $ 2000.00 ... Bargains !
     
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  15. SpeedyPhill

    SpeedyPhill asked ages ago but no longer interested Nov 3, 2018

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    To complete this topic we have to mention the fact that in August 1983, astronaut mission specialist/physician Norman Thagard also wore an Omega Speedmaster chronograph and an Accutron Astronaut tuning fork wrist watch aboard space shuttle Challenger during the STS-07 mission...
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    1983_Accutron.jpg 1983_Accutron2.jpg
     
  16. SpeedyPhill

    SpeedyPhill asked ages ago but no longer interested Jan 7, 2020

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    Can't believe we didn't finished this topic... so my first #SpeedyTuesday is going to be about an Accutron Astronaut :D
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    After MA-9 in May 1963, astronaut Gordon Cooper also wore (the same?) an Accutron Astronaut tuning fork wristwatch on Gemini V in August 1965.
    Here we see him wearing the Accutron Astronaut on his right wrist during prelaunch walkout on August 21, 1965 and on his left wrist aboard the US Navy carrier USS Lake Champlain, which together with USS DuPont stood in for the recovery of crew & spacecraft on August 29, 1965...
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    1965_Cooper_Accutron.jpg
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    The question was; where did this Accutron Astronaut wristwatch end up ?
    Well, it looks like Gordon Cooper gifted the Accutron to Soviet-Russian cosmonaut Pavel Belyayev when they meet in Athens Greece on September 18, 1965. Here's a picture of the American Gemini V crew meeting the Russian Voskhod-2 cosmonauts. Cooper wore the Accutron...
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    1965_Sept18_Accutron.jpg