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In the early 1960s, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) commissioned W.R. Case & Sons Cutlery Company – one of the America’s foremost manufacturers of premium knives – to develop a knife that would ultimately be stowed inside every manned U.S. spacecraft involved in the Gemini and Apollo mission series. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s Moon landing, which invited the world to witness man’s first steps on the Moon, Case is proud to reveal the limited edition Astronaut Knife M-1 for 2019.
When other military knives did not meet NASA’s criteria for the start of the Apollo program, the organization commissioned Case to create a knife to their exact specifications. The original Case Astronaut Knife M-1 was designed to be lightweight and featured a sharp cutting edge partnered with saw teeth on the back side. The blunt base of the knife’s blade was capable of prying items from the terrain. The handle was made of an ultra-lightweight synthetic which was found to withstand a hard impact without shattering. It also exuded no fumes, a feature that was critical to maintaining the purity of the air quality within the spacecraft.
The knife’s most practical applications can be derived from its stowed location inside the ship’s Command Module, where it resided with other essential gear as part of a survival pack. The items inside were to be used in the event the capsule splashed down off-course after re-entering Earth. In all, the Case® Astronaut Knife M-1 traveled to the Moon and back nine times from 1968-1972 as part of NASA’s Apollo program.
To celebrate man’s very first steps on the Moon, Case has carefully crafted a reproduction featuring an 11 ¾ inch taper ground, high carbon stainless steel machete blade, and a smooth white synthetic handle. The Case Astronaut Knife M-1 spans a total of 17 inches from base to blade tip and weighs 10.8 ounces. The knife is packaged in a two-piece box and features consecutive serialization on the blade.