Ball Watch Company is all about pushing the frontiers, and we like that. An earlier posting featured a diver who wears Ball Watch while diving into blue holes–dark caverns under the ocean. Moreover, since space is the “final frontier,” we’d expect to see Ball’s watches there as well.
They didn’t disappoint. Brian Binnie, a US Navy pilot, made a brief (approximately 5 minutes) trip into space in 2004. Strapped to his wrist as he hurtled through the edge of space was a Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon. Today they’ve added to the model and tacked on the name “Spacemaster” afterward, but at its core it’s still the same model.
That brief flight made history in a very big way. For years there’s been talk about the private, commercial opportunity available in space. In hospitality, in tourism, in mining–the possibilities were there. But for whatever reason, be it psychological or financial, the industry failed to take off. The Ansari X Prize was the first time that a reusable vehicle was used exclusively by a private corporation. Though the $10 million dollar award paled in comparison to the money spent on research and development (approximately $100 million), the technological breakthroughs were forecast to advance the pace of development.
That was 2004, and things have certainly progressed on both the watch front and the space front since then. While Ball Watch Company has tacked on the name “Spacemaster” to its Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon, things have moved forward in the commercial space sector. The Falcon 9 launched successfully recently, and a number of other firms are exploring everything from space suit improvements to inflatable lunar bases. Virgin Galactic is getting close to its maiden voyage as well. It’s hard to believe that all this started just 6 years ago with a Ball Engineer Hydrocarbon and an experimental craft.