by Richard Brown April 11, 2022

At ZULUDIVER we are keen followers of manned space flight, hence the development of our LUNAR Strap, so this weekend we were glued to NASA’s footage of another SpaceX launch. However, this was a launch with a difference and changed the nature of space travel forever. Not because humans were being launched to a distant planet, but because the entire crew onboard (other than the professional astronaut commander) had all paid $55M for their capsule seats. Axiom Mission 1 is the world’s first fully commercial space flight.

In the Endeavour capsule NASA astronaut Michael López-Alegría sat next to a US real estate entrepreneur Larry Connor; an investor and philanthropist Eytan Stibbe from Israel and a Canadian philanthropist Mark Pathy. But it’s not all fun and photo-ops for these self-funded astronauts as they are under instruction to conduct several outreach tasks and around 25 scientific experiments while onboard the ISS for eight days.

As the countdown began we were scrutinising the left wrists of the astronauts and as predicted Omega Speedmaster X-33 Gen 2s were front and centre. Naturally, these were fully NASA qualified Omega Speedmasters and not the recent MoonSwatch Omega/Swatch collaboration although we will definitely write more about these very cool watches in a new feature soon.

Omega Speedmaster X33

The Omega Speedmaster X33 Gen 2 - Image credit NASA TV.

But what was of more interest than the X-33s themselves were the straps the watches were worn on. During the first SpaceX flight, the watches appeared to be on the traditional hook and loop NASA straps (just like our ZD one). On this flight, the watches were clearly on standard two-piece black straps with a steel buckle. It was difficult to work out the material of the strap but for sure it would have to be fire-resistant. The strap was not really long enough to circumvent the spacesuits, so all crew were wearing the X-33s on the final pinhole. The most likely explanation for this is that the team have decided to live with the short strap for the flight to the ISS and then have a more comfortable strap for the following eight days?

Omega Speedmaster X33

The Omega Speedmaster X33 Generation 2 - Image credit Omega.

It is always a buzz to see an Omega blast into space and minutes from launch we noticed one of the astronauts gazing intently at his watch rather than the myriad of LCD dials in front of him. Perhaps he was staring at his X-33 Elapsed Mission Timer, briefly lost in the incredible heritage of the brand and its connection to human space flight.

Looking to get your own moonwatch mission ready? Head over to our LUNAR Strap collection at ZULUDIVER.