Sunday, December 31, 2006

Fact or Fiction?: NASA Spent Millions to Develop a Pen that Would Write in Space, whereas the Soviet Cosmonauts Used a Pencil

(.....) Paul C. Fisher and his company, the Fisher Pen Company, reportedly invested $1 million to create what is now commonly known as the space pen. None of this investment money came from NASA's coffers. (.....) According to an Associated Press report from February 1968, NASA ordered 400 of Fisher's antigravity ballpoint pens for the Apollo program. A year later, the Soviet Union ordered 100 pens and 1,000 ink cartridges to use on their Soyuz space missions, said the United Press International. The AP later noted that both NASA and the Soviet space agency received the same 40 percent discount for buying their pens in bulk. They both paid $2.39 per pen instead of $3.98. You can buy this pen here, for $50.


cybrbeast said...

Another myth busted. Now I can be annoying when somebody brings this up :)

pimp-a-lot bear said...

Has anyone got a clue who made this story up? I must say, it sure was a great story!

Still I don't understand why they didn't use pencils.
Maybe if they did, they had to invent a space-pencil-sharpener.

annom said...

"Pencils may not have been the best choice anyway. The tips flaked and broke off, drifting in microgravity where they could potentially harm an astronaut or equipment. And pencils are flammable--a quality NASA wanted to avoid in onboard objects after the Apollo 1 fire."

annom said...

Oh and, the space pen is a lot cheaper LOL:

"in 1965. They paid $4,382.50 or $128.89 per pencil."

pimp-a-lot bear said...

indeed a lot cheaper & safer!