Space News
space history and artifacts articles

Messages
space history discussion forums

Sightings
worldwide astronaut appearances

Resources
selected space history documents

Websites
related space history websites

  collectSPACE: Messages
  Hardware & Flown Items
  Apollo 11 timepieces: Speedies and stopwatches?

Post New Topic  Post A Reply
profile | register | preferences | faq | search

next newest topic | next oldest topic
Author Topic:   Apollo 11 timepieces: Speedies and stopwatches?
jeff stein
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 11-09-2006 04:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jeff stein   Click Here to Email jeff stein     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We all know that the Omega Speedmaster was worn on this mission, on the moon, etc. But let's go beyond the usual headlines and see what was really happening.

I have been studying some of the reports and transcripts, and find references to a "stopwatch" (during the descent of the LEM or as being stored in the LEM).

Do we think that Armstrong and Aldrin were "confusing" the references between the Speedmasters and a true "stopwatch" (using the terms interchangeably), or do we think that there were true stopwatches (rather than chronographs) on Apollo 11.

These guys tended to be very precise in their communications... strikes me as strange that they would be calling a Speedmaster a "stopwatch". I also notice references to a "wristwatch" and plain "watch", but assume that these would be the Speedmasters.

Any thoughts on this?

Go4Launch
Member

Posts: 414
From: Bethesda, MD
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 11-09-2006 08:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Go4Launch   Click Here to Email Go4Launch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My guess is they were using the term "stopwatch" to refer to the Speedmaster when they were using that function on it. I mean, what would they say? "Houston, according to the stopwatch on the Speedmaster?" Plus I'd think the manufacturer of any separate stopwatch would have made a very big deal out of it (as Omega did/has)!

jeff stein
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 11-11-2006 06:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jeff stein   Click Here to Email jeff stein     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Below is portion of transcript of post-flight briefing, in which Armstrong is describing why it took longer than expected to prepare for the EVA (leaving the LEM and exploring the moon).

Sounds to me as though he distinguishes between a stopwatch and a wristwatch. Am I being too literal? Getting it backwards? What do you think?

10.15 Preparation for Egress... Armstrong... 'Now, a preliminary comment has to do with the longer time that it took than during our simulations. It is attributable to the fact that when you do simulations of EVA PREP you have a clean cockpit with you and nothing else. In reality, you have a lot of checklists, data, food packages, stowage places filled with odds and ends, binoculars, stop watches, and assorted things, each of which you feel obliged to evaluate as to whether its stowage position is satisfactory for EVA and whether you might want to change anything from the preflight plans. For example, our mission timer was out, and we decided we had better leave one wristwatch inside in case it got damaged. We would have at least one working watch to back up the mission timer or to use in place of the mission timer, in case we could not get it going again.'

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29337
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 11-11-2006 10:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't have access to the documents right now, but the Apollo 11 stowage manifest should answer your question, Jeff. As I know each astronaut's chronograph is listed, any possible stopwatches should be as well. Assuming someone does beat me to it, I'll check the list at my next opportunity and share what it says about stopwatches here.

That said, reading your transcript excerpt:

For example, our mission timer was out, and we decided we had better leave one wristwatch inside in case it got damaged. We would have at least one working watch to back up the mission timer or to use in place of the mission timer, in case we could not get it going again.
If additional stopwatches were aboard Eagle, would Neil have found it necessary to leave his watch inside?

jeff stein
New Member

Posts:
From:
Registered:

posted 11-11-2006 11:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jeff stein   Click Here to Email jeff stein     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yes -- a 60-minute stopwatch would have been useful for timing many things (burns, descent, etc.), but useless for timing the mission.

I will be mildly surprised to find stopwatches onboard, but not shocked. I was shocked to find Glenn wearing a stopwatch strapped to his forearm, on Friendship 7 (MA-6), so I am in an "anything is possible mood" on this entire topic.

All times are CT (US)

next newest topic | next oldest topic

Administrative Options: Close Topic | Archive/Move | Delete Topic
Post New Topic  Post A Reply
Hop to:

Contact Us | The Source for Space History & Artifacts

Copyright 1999-2014 collectSPACE.com All rights reserved.


Ultimate Bulletin Board 5.47a





advertisement