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I flew my Moonwatch to Space on a Blue Origin Rocket

  1. betamax Feb 14, 2019

    This project started out of the blue, seriously*. Working at Blue Origin I was mystified when an email came across my Outlook screen indicating we could enter a raffle to get a payload on the next flight of New Shepard, NS-9. Having worked in the New Space industry for the last 8 years of my professional career I had never considered what artifact I would personally fly if given a payload assignment. Commercial spaceflight for the average citizen is right around the corner in the relative scale of history. However, living it day to day I was surprised to see an opportunity to personally fly a payload in 2018.

    Sure enough my mind was kicking into overdrive wondering about the possibilities. We were limited to a total weight and size, it had to be reviewed by staff and inside of a designated flight baggie. Then it would be added to the payload locker of a New Shepard Crew Capsule for the next flight, NS-9.

    New Space is an emerging commercial industry where corporations are playing an increasingly important role in access to space. New Shepard is able to fly science payloads for our customers inside of engineered flight lockers with power and data hookups. Crossing the Karman line is an interesting place for all sorts of microgravity experiments and endeavors. For this flight a portion of the payload was allocated to employee use.

    After a short period of intense deliberation wondering about Darth Vader Lego figures, Star Trek coins, jewelry, rings and novelty items I had a moment and the Moonwatch crossed my mind. It is an awesome part of spaceflight history having literally touched the lives of so many professional astronauts. It was also ambitious being much more significant than a space flown Darth Vader Lego man, and Darth is pretty cool.

    The only issue is I didn’t own a Speedy at that point! I thought about springing for a 321 movement but they are indeed rare and have a price to go with the scarcity plus more risk of bad provenance. The more I thought about it, the engineer in me would rather go to space with an 1861 movement. It is the currently manufactured and flight qualified design, they are abundant, modestly priced, and no sweating authenticity. It makes sense to choose the modern version of the classic for this application.

    I located a barely used and still minty 3570.50 locally and decided to go with that. On the NS-9 flight I was only able to fly the body of the watch, no spring bars or strap. This watch went for the ride of a lifetime spending a short time in space. New Shepard is designed for launch and land suborbital flights having a peak apogee above the Kaman line at 62 miles up.

    The NS-9 mission is documented in full detail on the Blue Origin YouTube account.

    This mission was a test of the Crew Capsule escape motor at high altitude. In all the Speedy made it to ~73 miles above the surface of the Earth, which is over 10 miles above the Kaman line into Space!

    Now that I had flown a body it was time to figure out a plan for the band. Sure enough when the next flight came around I was lucky enough to get selected again for a payload allocation. What a treat, it was short notice and I needed to come up with a watch band to fly.

    I had been researching NASA style Velcro watch bands and reviewed the official SEB12100030 drawing circulating on the internet. During my research I identified Carl at GasGasBones for his craftsmanship and enthusiasm of Speedy space history. He makes a replica of the -207 NASA strap to meet print. I thought about the -207 but it is sized for wearing over a spacesuit on an EVA. I ended up having him make 2 different “Earth Bound” versions of the basic NASA design formula with a few slight modifications. For example, a leather patch was added with the flight information.

    On the next flight, NS-10, the two GGB NASA inspired straps flew, a green NATO style strap, the Omega warranty and pictogram cards, two links from a Moonwatch metal band, and a little engraved round metal token.

    This is one of those projects where I work on it around all the other stuff going on in the circus of life. I’ve been wanting to get some pictures and finally took some. I still haven’t setup the tripod which would be nice for a greater depth of focus thanks to a stationary camera. I enjoy collectibles and documenting the history is part of the fun, that way I can remember what I did in 20 years. Anyway, have a look at the pictures included below and please stop to consider the disclaimer in italics.

    *This collection has been assembled for my own personal use and its sole purpose is to honor the legacy of the Moonwatch as a storied part of spaceflight tradition. This story is presented for historical record to share my personal experience as a participant in the New Space commercial industry. This collection and social media posting are not endorsed by Blue Origin, Omega, NASA, Lego, GasGasBones, Darth Vader or the Martians and there are no commercial or financial interests associated with the collection or social media post. In no way do I benefit either financially or otherwise from this collection or social media posting. Permission to share our personal mission payloads has been granted to employees by Blue Origin. All views expressed in this social media posting are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity whatsoever with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Sometimes people do stuff just because it is awesome and nothing is for sale here, enough said!

    Here is what the flight baggie from NS-10 looked like when it was flown. I have since taken stuff out to photograph and to install one of the bands on the watch.


    With the bands in hand I decided to install one already!


    Here is a picture of the assembled watch sitting on top of the flight baggie flown on the NS-10 mission.


    Each of the Blue Origin missions has an associated patch. The flight patch tradition has been strong in NASA missions going back to the 1960s. I also flew the warranty card, serial number 77800756 went to space.


    Here is the front view from the cockpit.


    And the back side of the strap with the flight information noted.


    Another shot of the assembled Speedy.


    The full collection, hopefully I'll need to use this when I personally travel into space, given a 30 year horizon a lot can happen so who knows what is next for the Speedy. This stuff is fun, work is always a challenge and you have to find passion in the mission.


  2. Georgieboy58 Feb 14, 2019

    Great idea and execution!
    Not a bad entry.
  3. eugeneandresson 'I used a hammer, a chisel, and my fingers' Feb 14, 2019

    Fantastic! Lucky you, and thanks for sharing :thumbsup:
    Speedy2254 likes this.
  4. Foo2rama Keeps his worms in a ball instead of a can. Feb 14, 2019

    That f#%#,?< cool!

    Oddly Blue Origin had been under my radar, and not 3 hours ago I randomly watched a NOVA documentary on space flight that talked about it. Where I live in Orange County I can watch the Falcon and Space X launches (and SX recovery) from Vandenberg from my balcony. I honestly had no idea that anyone else had launched and landed a first stage.

    Thanks for your work, and thanks for the awesome story. Enjoy your flown pieces!!!
    Hans the Wolf and REckroat like this.
  5. kov Trüffelschwein. Feb 14, 2019

    Wow ! What a story :eek:

    Awesome, thanks for sharing :thumbsup:
  6. bdp Feb 14, 2019

    That is so cool.:cool:
    Great work and thanks for sharing.
  7. zimonyig Feb 14, 2019

    :eek:Cool story! :thumbsup:
  8. omegasaso12 Feb 14, 2019

    uau that is some crazy stuff.

  9. Ian_km Feb 14, 2019

    Enjoyable read and interesting story, thanks!
  10. levkov Feb 14, 2019

    Wow, what a first post! Thanks for sharing, thoroughly enjoyed reading. Excellent choice of object to be flown :thumbsup:
    It’s funny to see how one’s interest may lead from space travelling to the Moonwatch (in general, not strictly talking about the OP), or the other way around – I.e. I’ve always been a (moon)watch nut, which led me to my obsession with space programs (especially early ones). Combine the two, and own a flown Speedy, a deep dip in both worlds – that’s the ultimate dream for people like myself!
    Just playing around with the thought, I think I’d rather own a flown 3570.50 than a CK2915!! There, I said it! :D
  11. gostang9 Feb 14, 2019

    Thank you for a stellar first post and thread! There is something about your post that makes the plain-jane-standard-Speedy seem just so much cooler all of a sudden.

    I've never been a big space geek myself (although the OF influence has me more interested than ever before) but the way you explained your story and documented in photos is pretty neat.

    I've also never been a fan of NATO straps, but the version you shared is so nice I'd certainly give it a try.

    :thumbsup: :thumbsup:
  12. BlackTalon This Space for Rent Feb 14, 2019

    Winner of "Best First Post Ever" award (alert -- I am the sole judge of this award).
  13. mayankyadav Feb 14, 2019

    One day when you will eventually fly into space wearing that Speedy of yours and be seen on media, OF will say thats our man ;) ! All the best.
    PATRICK JP likes this.
  14. bags1971 Feb 14, 2019

    nice story nice to have a moonwatch which has been to space
  15. Lbreak Feb 14, 2019

    Bloody hell, this is the most awesome first post I could have imagined. Good job!
  16. corn18 Feb 14, 2019

    Send up a FOIS next.
  17. cicindela Steve @ ΩF Staff Member Feb 14, 2019

    Winner of the number 1 post of the year award.........

    crd, MikiJ, MTROIS and 12 others like this.
  18. alam Feb 14, 2019

    Awesome! :thumbsup: the squirrel would have been tremendously jealous! :p
    M'Bob likes this.
  19. ReturnOfUltraman Feb 14, 2019

    Edited by a mod Feb 14, 2019
  20. mblease Feb 14, 2019

    Really enjoyed reading this! Good job!