What looked like it could turn into a major tragic disaster on NASA missions, becomes a success story, but above all, a chronicle of brave men.
On April 11, 1970, Apollo 13 left Earth on a mission to the Moon, but at exactly 55:54:53 in time, the unexpectable happened, one of the two oxygen tanks exploded, causing serious damage to the ship, making the impossible to complete the mission.
With only one oxygen tank, with all-electric systems turned off, without water and without light, the main objective became a safe return to earth, the astronaut’s crew and ground crew had to use a set of creative procedures to make that possible.
On the return trajectory, the astronauts used their Omega Speedmaster chronographs to count the critical 14 seconds of LEM’s rocket engine firing to correct the trajectory as well, which was called “Free return trajectory”, which included an initial loop in around the Moon and the result could not have been better, it was an impressive and accurate dive in the middle of the Pacific, just a mile away from the recovery point and three and a half miles from the recovery ship Iwo Jima.
Over time, two commemorative editions of the Omega Speedmaster were launched, both with the emblematic “Snoopy” on the dial and also on the caseback. The first edition was launched in 2003, Speedmaster Professional Snoopy ref. 3578.51, a black dial with the Spaceman Snoopy and above his helmet, the words “Eyes on the Stars”, 5,441 units were produced.
The last edition was launched in 2015, Speedmaster Professional Silver Snoopy Award ref. 318.104.22.168.04.003, silver dial with Snoopy lying on the roof of his dog house with a bubble thought with the words “Failure is not an option”, with an impressive Super LumiNova that allows you to see Snoopy even in the dark, this watch too displays on the dial the words “What could you do in 14 seconds?” following the range of the second from 0 to 14 (alluding to the critical 14 seconds of the free return trajectory of the Apollo 13), a limited edition of 1,970 pieces.
Some curiosities about the reasons why Snoopy has been associated with space missions, the Apollo 10 spacecraft had a Command Module called “Charlie Brown” and a Lunar Expedition Module (LEM) called “Snoopy” since these drawings were very popular at that time. In 1968 NASA conceived the Silver Snoopy Award, as a way of thanking and recognizing the astronauts for their dedication and for the great services provided in their functions.