Casio's new digital watch marks 40 years since first space shuttle launch

Casio’s new limited edition G-Shock DW5600 digital watch marks 40 years since the first space shuttle launch.
Casio’s new limited edition G-Shock DW5600 digital watch marks 40 years since the first space shuttle launch. (Image credit: Casio G-Shock)

Casio is set to launch a limited edition timepiece commemorating the 40th anniversary of NASA's first space shuttle launch.

The G-Shock DW5600NASA21-1 features a black and white design inspired by the aesthetics of the space shuttle Columbia, which lifted off on the STS-1 mission on April 12, 1981.

The STS-1 40th anniversary edition watch will go on sale for $140 at 7 a.m. EDT (1100 GMT) on Monday (April 12) on the Casio G-Shock website.

"The commemorative DW5600 honors decades of space exploration and was designed for watch collectors and space enthusiasts in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the first space shuttle launch," Casio wrote on its website.

In photos: NASA's first space shuttle flight, STS-1 on Columbia

Flown by NASA astronauts John Young and Bob Crippen, the STS-1 mission has been called the "boldest test flight in history." The first flight of the space shuttle demonstrated that a reusable spacecraft could launch like a rocket and return to Earth as a winged glider. It was the first of 135 missions for the 30-year program, which came to its end in 2011.

The G-Shock digital watch has a white dial with a red NASA "worm" logotype and a stainless steel case back with an engraved silhouette of the space shuttle. The matching black and white watch strap is inscribed "STS-1" and "United States" and has the American flag printed on the band loop, evoking the markings on the shuttle orbiter.

Related: Space Shuttle's Lasting Legacy: 30 Years of Historic Feats

The Casio G-Shock DW5600NASA21-1 watch is packaged in an outer box that displays STS-1 mission statistics and an inner tin that depicts the flight's two-day path in Earth orbit. (Image credit: Casio G-Shock)

The display also features a backlight graphic that depicts the shuttle's silhouette and the years "1981 - 2021" when illuminated.

The DW5600NASA21-1 comes packaged in a box that is styled after Columbia's display screens, complete with statistics about the STS-1 mission, and a tin that illustrates the flight's two-day orbit around Earth.

The design of the new Casio G-Shock DW5600NASA21-1 pays tribute to STS-1, NASA's first space shuttle launch 40 years ago. (Image credit: Casio G-Shock)

More than just a commemorative, the square-face Casio G-Shock DW5600 (in both "C" and "E" variants) was among the models and brands of wristwatches that NASA approved for its astronauts to use on the space shuttle. The flown-in-space G-Shock watches were typically black and gray in color, but shared the same general form factor and modes as the new STS-1 40th anniversary limited edition.

The DW5600NASA21-1 is the second NASA-themed G-Shock. The first model, the all-white DW5600NASA20, was released on April 24, 2020 and quickly sold out.

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Robert Z. Pearlman Editor, Contributor

Robert Pearlman is a space historian, journalist and the founder and editor of, an online publication and community devoted to space history with a particular focus on how and where space exploration intersects with pop culture. Pearlman is also a contributing writer for and co-author of "Space Stations: The Art, Science, and Reality of Working in Space” published by Smithsonian Books in 2018. He previously developed online content for the National Space Society and Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, helped establish the space tourism company Space Adventures and currently serves on the History Committee of the American Astronautical Society, the advisory committee for The Mars Generation and leadership board of For All Moonkind. In 2009, he was inducted into the U.S. Space Camp Hall of Fame in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2021, he was honored by the American Astronautical Society with the Ordway Award for Sustained Excellence in Spaceflight History.