The human race has always longed to conquer the moon. Legends from all over the world, from the Chinese to the Mayans, even spoke of rabbits inhabiting the moon. A significant symbol across cultures and time, the moon, whose shapes and silhouettes determine the day of the month as it orbits the earth, was also the basis of many ancient calendars.
Last year, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing led by Apollo 11, whose lunar module was piloted by Buzz Aldrin. The 1969 mission was significant beyond the fact that we landed on the moon, it functioned as a yardstick that measured our progress as a species, and a chequered flag for opposite societies competing on ideology and technology. Apollo 11 was a fine example of a government project opening up to the private sector and leveraging on the latter’s expertise.
Beginning with Apollo 11, a pluralistic foundation was laid by NASA and the private sector which manufactured the tools required to make the mission a success and complete the picture. When photography equipment was needed to document the mission, Hasselblad, Zeiss and Kodak supplied the camera, lens and film rolls respectively. Motorola manufactured the data uplink system for the spacecraft, while Honeywell built the stabilisation and control system. The live broadcast of the moon landing propelled the role of the television, the experience of being “live,” and accelerated the development of satellites. When watches that could survive a moonwalk were needed, Omega supplied its Speedmaster Professional watches. When Aldrin strapped on the ST105.012 before leaving the lunar module for his first steps on the moon, Omega’s association with the last frontier of outer space was perpetually sealed.
THE FIRST STEPS INTO SPACE
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