Mar 16, 2016

The History of The Space Pen

Back when I wanted to be an astronaut (just kidding NASA take me now I'll do anything), my mom gave me a space pen that somebody had given her and it was SO cool. Besides being able to write upside down, I loved the design of the sleek little guy and the connection I felt with my gravity-defying heroes. The history of their design is quite the little story, recently featured by Cool Material.   

In a world in which computerized note-taking hadn't yet claimed preeminence, the ability to write with a pen was of crucial importance to the success of NASA's missions. Unfortunately the firm NASA hired was only able to produce working writing utensils at a whopping $129.89 per pencil. That is, until Paul Fisher came along and introduced the prototype that eventually took off by utilizing pressurized nitrogen capsules.  


Side note: if not space pens, what are some of your favorite pens? I used to be a Uniball guy but I've been a pretty regular Pilot G2 guy for awhile now.



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DRoqSteady on Sep 07, 2016:

The ultimate man pen is most def. Zebra Stainless F-301. This pen doesn't just write even and amazingly, it is also sturdy enough to become a useful tool in self denfense when there is no other choice. 

J in MT on Mar 16, 2016:

Can't tell if kidding or not.... 


But just so everybody's on the same page: the Ruski Pencil joke is very flawed thinking.  It's supposed to be a joke about government waste or whatnot, but in actuality it has everything to do with safety and reliability.  Simply, pencils make dust. Graphite dust in fact. Graphite is a conductor, a weak one, but if you get some dust into very VERY sensitive switches on your spacecraft, bad things can happen. So, no pencil = no pencil dust/shavings to worry about. 


Now, back to your regularly scheduled comments.

Scott Baldwin on Mar 16, 2016:

...but the Russians were smarter and just used pencils!