Sadly, former Mercury, Gemini and Apollo astronaut Wally Schirra died on the 3rd of May 2007. It didn’t reach the Dutch news (not that I am aware of anyway), so I didn’t know until I read it in Chuck Maddox’s email.

According to the ‘watches in space’ time line by Chuck, Wally Schirra was the first astronaut that used the Speedmaster in space. This was during the Sigma 7 flight on the 3rd of October 1962. Almost 45 years ago…

Wally Schirra, picture taken by NASA on the 1st of October 1962.

You can read more about Wally Schirra on his Wiki page and here, at On these pages you will see that Mr Schirra had a whole bunch of watches, among them the Rolex GMT-Master that a lot of astronauts preferred, and ofcourse.. the legendary Speedmaster watch (as pictured below).

Wally Schirra died at the age of 84.


  • I was saddened to receive an IM from Keith Downing with the news of Wally’s passing. Wally [as he liked to be known and called] was the only Astronaut to fly on each NASA spacecraft programs (Mercury 8 “Sigma 7”, Gemini 6, and Apollo 7.

    I had the opportunity to meet Wally back in February and I think he’d like to be described as “A pilot’s pilot” but I read an excellent remembrance of him over the weekend I’ll share:

    “Wally was a great gamester, a wonderful person … He was a ‘gotcha’ guy,” said former Apollo astronaut Al Worden, recalling Schirra’s love of jokes. Worden, a captain in the Air Force, recalled that Schirra, a captain in the Navy, was his flight commander when he first joined the astronaut corps in 1966.

    “So I told him, ‘Since we have the same rank, we have to approach this relationship very carefully,'” Worden said, adding a pause. “Next thing I found myself doing was getting him a cup of coffee.”

    If that quote made you laugh or at least smile, that’s what being around Wally was like. I think that’s how he’d like people to remember him: with a laugh, a smile or a good story.

    I can assure everyone we haven’t heard the last from Wally, but that will have to wait for a more appropriate time in the days to come.

    We were blessed in having him for a full rich 84 years, I know we’ll miss his knowledge, talents and enthusiasm in the years to come.

    — Chuck