The Story Behind the Silver Snoopy Award
Of all the Space Flight Awareness Awards, the Silver Snoopy Award is the most prestigious. NASA astronauts present it to fellow NASA employees and contractors for their outstanding contributions to flight safety and successful missions. Each year, less than one percent of the aerospace program workforce receives this award, making it a particularly special honor.
This history of the Silver Snoopy dates back to 1968. That year, the first-ever award was bestowed to certain members of the crew who worked on the LTA-8 project. They were responsible for testing what would become the first lunar module. Over the past fifty years, tens of thousands of people have received Silver Snoopy Awards. There’s one recipient in particular who’s especially near and dear to our hearts: Hans Widmer, OMEGA’s former technical manager.
OMEGA’s Critcal Role in the Apollo 13 Mission
OMEGA became the official watchmaker for NASA in 1962. Just seven years later, the duo made history when the OMEGA Speedmaster accompanied Buzz Aldrin during the first lunar landing. The pair continues to work together today.
1970 marked a significant moment in OMEGA and NASA’s work together. On April 13th of that year, the Apollo 13 mission was preparing for another lunar landing. But then, an oxygen tank on the craft’s exterior exploded and all non-essential systems had to power down. The crew had to abort the mission they set out on and pursue another. They had to face the daunting task of getting back to earth safely. Food and water was in limited supply, heating was gone, and the use of certain on-board instruments was lost. Yet, the astronauts needed to time a crucial burn of the engines. It would be their only chance to adjust their trajectory and enter the atmosphere at the correct angle. The only tool they had for the job was the OMEGA Speedmaster Professional.
Just four days later, the members of the Apollo 13 mission successfully landed in the South Pacific. Six months down the road, on October 5th, astronaut Thomas Stafford presented the Silver Snoopy Award to Hans Widmer. The accolade honored OMEGA’s contribution to the safe return of the Apollo 13 crew.
The Speedmaster Professional Snoopy Award Watch
Thirty-three years after the Apollo 13 mission, OMEGA introduced a commemorative watch called the Speedmaster Professional Snoopy Award. The brand produced the model in a limited run of 5,441 pieces as a nod to the length of the mission: 142 hours, 54 minutes, and 41 seconds. This 2003 edition features a black luminova dial with a Snoopy badge painted on the subdial at the nine-o’clock position. It also comes equipped with a stainless steel construction. On the caseback, there’s a colored variation of the Silver Snoopy Award logo. It’s accompanied by the words, “Eyes on the Stars.” The model has since been nicknamed the “Snoopy Eyes on the Stars” because of its incorporation of the NASA slogan.
The Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award Watch
Twelve years later, OMEGA debuted another Snoopy edition at Baselworld, this time in a limited run of 1970 pieces. The 2015 Speedmaster Apollo 13 Silver Snoopy Award features a distinctly different design from the original Snoopy and other Speedmasters. It showcases a white dial with a special fourteen-seconds counter. Along the counter, there’s text that reads, “What could you do in 14 seconds?” The message is a reference to the critical window the crew had to burn the engines on the Apollo 13 mission. Like the initial Snoopy model, the 2015 version features Snoopy in the subdial at the nine-o’clock position. However, it’s a different rendering of the beloved character. Another notable feature of the watch is the luminescence of the dial. The tachymeter scale, indices, hands, and Snoopy himself all glow in the dark. Instead of the bracelet strap found on the original Snoopy and most Speedy’s, this model comes equipped with nylon strap. Finally, the caseback of the Silver Snoopy simply showcases the Award logo mounted on a dark blue enamel.