Time Since Launch
Time Since Launch is a single-use, long-scale launch clock.
Pull the pin to begin counting for 2,738 years.
Use this very long-scale timepiece to mark the beginning of your epoch. It could begin when you get married, have a baby, quit smoking, launch a rocket, or on an ordinary Tuesday morning.
Your epoch is safeguarded within this unique timepiece designed and over-engineered to outlive you. Suspended in a durable borosilicate glass tube and sealed with gasketed aluminum end-caps, two LCDs show days, hours, minutes and seconds since launch. This timepiece is built to count for 2,738 years.
When John Glenn became the first American astronaut to orbit earth, the only piece of technology on his body, other than a spacesuit, was a 12-hour stopwatch. Soon after launch, Glenn started his stopwatch in sync with tracking stations across the world. At that moment, Mission Elapsed Time (MET) began counting up from zero. A launch timer was not only required for a successful mission (ie. to calculate position), it also created a shared global timezone.
Quietly situated at the center of a tremendous collaborative feat of human innovation, the launch clock marks an arbitrary Moment Zero. A moment shared by humans scattered all over the world and one hurling through space.
Time Since Launch is off the grid, both in terms of power and its ability to keep accurate time. Unlike your phone, it doesn’t rely on a surprisingly fragile external multi-billion dollar timing and power infrastructure.
Made with precision machined metals, over-engineered and over-specified electronics, Time Since Launch will outlive you. This assembly of parts - from physical materials to electronic components - were selected with longevity in mind.
Time Since Launch ships with its LCDs in pre-launch mode, this rhythmic cycling through each of the segments ensures even wear and tear.
On launch, Time Since Launch burns your moment into the chip's silicon and begins counting. The displays indicate elapsed time in your epoch, counting up to 999,999 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds.
If anything ever happens to your Time Since Launch, as long as the chip is physically intact, you can recover your Moment Zero and transplant it into a surrogate.
Time Since Launch is made from machined aluminum endcaps and a durable borosilicate tube. The electronics are suspended and deliberately made visible. The enclosure is easy to take apart. If ever something breaks, you can easily identify what went wrong so it can be fixed.
Electronics specified for longevity and low power consumption. Time Since Launch consists of only essential electrical components to mitigate potential failure points. Mounted on a matte black PCB with gold plated traces, Time Since Launch has 2 chips, a few passive electronic components (resistors, diodes and capacitors), two 6-digit LCDs and batteries. That’s it.
It draws less than 6uA (microamps) of current running at 3.3 volts. This gives us an energy usage of about 20 microwatts (millionths of a watt).
A 20+ year battery life. Time Since Launch ships with 2 x AA Energizer L91 Ultimate Lithium batteries. These batteries have a capacity of 3,500mAh, and a 20 year shelf life, which means they are guaranteed to have 95% of their original capacity after 20 years of sitting on a shelf.
To arrive at our 20+ year battery life estimate, we take Energizer’s stated capacity of 3,500mAh and round down to 3,000mAh (to be conservative), divide by 6uA and then take off another 30% (to account for external factors). This gives us an conservative estimated run time of 40 years.
A real time chip with ±2ppm accuracy. To keep time, Time Since Launch uses an Epson RS8900 chip. This real-time clock chip with a temperature-compensated crystal oscillator is extremely stable at room temperature. It can hold its frequency at less than ±2 parts per million (ppm). This level of accuracy is 10x better than a normal wristwatch crystal which, with an accuracy of ±20ppm.
If you were to shoot a basketball from a court in NYC to a hoop in Philly with ±2ppm accuracy, you’d miss by less than 10 inches.
Safely change batteries without losing time. About 6 months before it is time to change the batteries, the display indicates your batteries are low. During the swap, backup capacitors keep the real time chip powered and running without losing time.
To change the batteries, pull the aluminum caps out of the glass tube to expose the battery holders. Pull out your old batteries and put in new ones.
Dimensions 174mm (6.85”) x 38mm (1.5”)
Weight 285g (10oz)
Materials Anodized aluminum (6061-T6), stainless steel (303) launch pin, borosilicate glass tube with a 4mm (0.1575”) thick wall, Buna-N o-rings, PCB and electronic components.
Ships w/ 2 x AA Energizer L91 Ultimate Lithium batteries.