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Speedy 9300 meets Atlantis

  1. WurstEver

    WurstEver Dec 13, 2016

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    I thought I'd share a story about a recent trip to the USA. I often travel with my Speedy 9300 because I like to track home time on the combined chrono subdial. While I was away recently, I had the opportunity to visit the Kennedy Space Center. The highlight was seeing the Atlantis orbiter. They have done a wonderful job with the exhibit.

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    Like many here at OF, I'm a bit of a fan of the space program, so the Speedmaster line holds a special appeal. And I grew up in the 80s, so for all its shortcomings, the shuttle has a special place in my heart. Speedies and space shuttles: That's always going to be a good day :)

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    But there are a couple of reasons why this visit to KSC was extra-special. The first was that it completed my little project of seeing each of the remaining orbiters on static display. I've now been lucky enough to see Discovery, Endeavour, Atlantis, and even Enterprise up close and personal. The second was that this was not the first time I'd seen Atlantis. In fact the last time I laid eyes on Atlantis it looked like this ...

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    That image captures the moment just before Atlantis disappeared into the clouds for the last time on the morning of July 8th, 2011. On that day, my partner and I and about a million of our closest friends saw this vehicle's final launch and the beginning of the very last mission of the shuttle program: STS-135. It nearly didn't happen. The weather was bad most of the morning and a problem with a sensor caused a halt in the countdown with about 30 seconds to go! But eventually it did happen. This very large, extraordinarily complex, and beautiful machine roared skywards carrying four lucky souls and no doubt a few Speedmasters. It was awesome. Seeing people leave the planet is something very special. It makes you feel like we're actually doing OK for a bunch of glorified monkeys.

    I have since had the pleasure and privilege of meeting two of the four crew members who flew on Atlantis that day and they've been kind enough to sign my launch day program and commemorative ticket. Both commented that they weren't given a commemorative ticket! Was it bad that I didn't offer to give them mine? :)

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    If you ever have the opportunity, I'd highly recommend a visit to KSC. And if you make it there, don't miss the Atlantis exhibit. It's the best of the shuttle exhibits in my opinion. Thanks for reading!
     
    ahartfie, abrod520, TLIGuy and 5 others like this.
  2. dialstatic

    dialstatic Dec 13, 2016

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    From the title, I expected a post about how you dropped your watch in the ocean.

    Great story! I very nearly booked a flight from Europe with a friend to check out the final launch, but we decided it was too risky in case it got postponed. It's been 25 years since I last visites the KSC...would love to see it again.
     
    Foo2rama and WurstEver like this.
  3. WurstEver

    WurstEver Dec 13, 2016

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    Haha! No, I hope not to be reigniting the great "should I swim with my Speedmaster?" debate any time soon :)

    Thanks! We were really worried about delays too. After balancing the costs and probabilities I think we ended up staying in the Orlando area for 5 days. Since it launched on the first attempt, I can also recommend a visit to the Dali museum in St Petersburg, FL to anyone who finds themselves in the area.
     
    dialstatic likes this.
  4. Jaacck

    Jaacck Dec 13, 2016

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    Great read, feel free to post more wrist shots of the speedy !
     
    WurstEver likes this.
  5. TLIGuy

    TLIGuy Dec 13, 2016

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    Fantastic!! Atlantis is indeed the best displayed orbiter. It truly gives you a sense of the size and complexity of the machine.
     
    WurstEver likes this.
  6. WurstEver

    WurstEver Dec 13, 2016

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    Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it :)

    I'll be sure to post another wristy or two of the 9300 soon. As much as I also love the Professional and some of the other 9300-based watches, there is something about the blend of the modern and the traditional in the stainless steel 9300 that I think is really successful. I also appreciate the slightly larger size, since I'm a fairly big guy.
     
  7. kingsrider

    kingsrider Thank you Sir! May I have another? Dec 13, 2016

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    I saw that launch too, all 6 seconds of it before it disappeared in to the cloud cover.
     
    WurstEver likes this.
  8. WurstEver

    WurstEver Dec 13, 2016

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    After an early morning start, a lot of sitting on buses and waiting around the visitor's center, it was over relatively quickly, wasn't it! It's funny how one's perception and memory of events and the flow of time can change. Sometimes it's possible to spend hours on auto-pilot, stuck in a routine with little attention or recollection of specifics in the days and months following. Yet I'll remember those few seconds of this special event for a very long time.

    I'm reminded of the cockpit camera view of the STS-135 launch that shows Rex Walheim with a huge grin throughout the ascent (YouTube link below). Looks like he was having fun. What a job!