Party on the Moon

George Clooney headlines spectacular out-of-this-world salute to Apollo 13 mission

George Clooney headlines out-of-this-world salute to Apollo 13 mission

News, Shelby, Omega Apollo 13, May 2015
George Clooney enters "space capsule" at Omega Speedmaster event in Sugar Land. Courtesy of Omega
Omega Apollo 13, Gene Cernan, George Clooney, Stephen Urquhart, Jim Lovell and Tom Stafford.May 2015
Gene Cernan, from left, George Clooney, Stephen Urquhart, Jim Lovell and Tom Stafford. Courtesy of Omega
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Yvonne Strahovski, Stephen Urquhart, Joanna Garcia Swisher
Yvonne Strahovski, from left, Omega president Stephen Urquhart and Joanna Garcia Swisher. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Models at the Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission
Models at the Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission event. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Astronaut Gene Cernan and Jan Cernan
Astronaut Gene Cernan and Jan Cernan. Photo by © Dave Rossman
News,Shelby, Omega Apollo 13, May 2015
The airplane hangar converted to dinner landing on the moon. Photo by Shelby Hodge
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Lynn Wyatt
Lynn Wyatt at Omega Apollo 13 dinner. Photo by © Dave Rossman
News, Shelby, Omega Apollo 13, May 2015
The moonscape where 290 guests dined at the Omega Speedmaster event in Sugar Land. Courtesy of Omega
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, George Clooney
Omega brand ambassador George Clooney rocks the night in airplane hangar at Omega Apollo 13 dinner. Photo by © Dave Rossman
News,Shelby, Omega Apollo 13, May 2015
The moonscape surrounds the dinner platform at Omega Apollo 13 dinner.  Photo by Shelby Hodge
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Lily Koppel
The Astronauts Wives Club author Lily Koppel. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Janet Gurwitch and Ron Franklin
Michael and Melissa Mithoff. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Janet Gurwitch and Ron Franklin
Janet Gurwitch and Ron Franklin. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, The Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission at theWestern Airways Hangar at the Sugar Land Regional Airport
The Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission at the Western Airways Hangar at Sugar Land Regional Airport. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Becca Cason Thrash
Becca Cason Thrash. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Ceron and Diane Lokey Farb
Ceron and Diane Lokey Farb. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Steven Wyatt and Joyce Echols
Steven Wyatt and Joyce Echols. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Stephanie Savage
Gossip Girl writer and producer Stephanie Savage. Photo by © Dave Rossman
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Susie and Sanford Criner
Susie and Sanford Criner. Photo by © Dave Rossman
News, Shelby, Omega Apollo 13, May 2015
Omega Apollo 13, Gene Cernan, George Clooney, Stephen Urquhart, Jim Lovell and Tom Stafford.May 2015
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Yvonne Strahovski, Stephen Urquhart, Joanna Garcia Swisher
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Models at the Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Astronaut Gene Cernan and Jan Cernan
News,Shelby, Omega Apollo 13, May 2015
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Lynn Wyatt
News, Shelby, Omega Apollo 13, May 2015
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, George Clooney
News,Shelby, Omega Apollo 13, May 2015
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Lily Koppel
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Janet Gurwitch and Ron Franklin
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Janet Gurwitch and Ron Franklin
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, The Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission at theWestern Airways Hangar at the Sugar Land Regional Airport
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Becca Cason Thrash
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Ceron and Diane Lokey Farb
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Steven Wyatt and Joyce Echols
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Stephanie Savage
Omega Celebrates the 45th Anniversary of Apollo 13 Mission, May 2015, Susie and Sanford Criner

Much like its fine Swiss timepieces, Omega's salute to the 45th anniversary of the Apollo 13 moon mission was an evening of carefully orchestrated precision, drama and star power. Tuesday night, Omega brand ambassador and Hollywood astronaut George Clooney joined real life NASA heroes in the spotlight in Sugar Land in the Western Airways hangar that was transformed into an out-of-this-world setting.

Omega invited 290 guests, a mix of stars, top customers and media from across the country for the black-tie evening that included only a sprinkling of Houstonians. Before dinner they mingled over cocktails in a sleek, space odyssey style "capsule" with astronauts Gene Cernan, Jim Lovell and Tom Stafford. For many of the guests, this evening was as much about the incredible setting as about the remarkable men of the space program.

Pulling out the stops for the imaginative evening, Omega brought in Paris-based event planners Bureau Batek to transform the hangar into a remarkable party setting that flowed from the "space capsule" to a dramatic moonscape where dinner was served beneath starlit heavens. Just before the capsule doors opened to reveal the moon surface party scene, the capsule rumbled, fog rose from beneath the doors and dramatic music played as videos of the NASA countdown for lift-off of Apollo 13 filled flat screens around the capsule.

The dinner ambience was convincingly outer space as a vast video screen showed planets moving across the sky, a space station floating by, meteor showers, comets and an astronaut drifting in space a la Clooney's Gravity. Lengthy dinner tables were dressed with Omega watches, oscillating on "moon rocks" under glass domes.

"We kept this a big surprise. We wanted to make a big splash and we chose something a bit different which is this airfield." 

President of Omega Stephen Urquhart in from Switzerland told CultureMap, "We wanted this platform to tell the story that most Americans don't even know. And we kept this a big surprise. We wanted to make a big splash and we chose something a bit different which is this airfield."

That story is of the moon landing that never happened ("Houston, we have a problem.") due to the explosion of an oxygen tank in the capsule. Lovell's Omega Speedmaster Apollo 13 played a crucial role in providing necessary timing for the crew's recovery of operations.

Lily Koppel, author of The Astronaut Wives Clubemceed the program that featured the astronauts, Clooney and Urquhart reminiscing about the space program and Apollo 13.

"I was born in 1961," Clooney said. "So it was a big part of my life and a big part of my growing up . . . It was a huge part of the optimism of a period of time when you really believed that anything was possible. Such a hopeful period of time. It's just the bravest thing I've ever seen in my life and I wish and I hope that we will find a way, I would really love for us not to abandon the program."

Ironically, Clooney's futuristic space film Tomorrowland opens later this week.

Stars flying in for the event included Stephanie Savage, writer and producer (Gossip Girl), and JoAnna Garcia Swisher and Yvonne Strahovski, who have leads in the new TV series The Astronaut Wives Club.

The space age theme included the Tang and grapefruit juice-infused vodka cocktail served in a Space Ration Hydropack. 

Omega tapped A Fare Extraordinaire to provide the dinner, cocktails and hors d'eouvres, all of which featured a space age theme including the Tang and grapefruit juice-infused vodka cocktail served in a Space Ration Hydropack.

Guests included Western Airways chairman and CEO Keith Mosing and wife Alice. "This means a lot to me," Keith said, "I had a flight masters when in the military." Lynn Wyatt was another guest for whom the event had special meaning. She and Oscar Wyatt, a pilot throughout his career, were close friends with many of the NASA astronauts.

Houstonians in the mix included Omega fans Andrew Cordes and Brian Teichman plus Lucinda and Javier LoyaJohn and Becca Cason Thrash, Janet Gurwitch and Ron Franklin, Diane Lokey Farb, Ceron, Joyce Echols and Steve Wyatt, Elizabeth Petersen, Susie and Sanford Criner, Melissa and Michael Mithoff, Miya Shay, Jeff Gremillion, Carolyn Farb, Jennifer Roosth and Lance Avery Morgan.