Russian Space Pen.


The popular myth is that NASA spent millions of dollars on developing a pen that would write in outer space, while the Russian Cosmonauts simply used pencils like the Russian and American spacemen used before the introduction of the Space Pen to Apollo VII in 1968. As is now widely known, this is not true. Paul Fisher produced the Space Pen with millions of his own dollars. Nevertheless, it does speak volumes about Americans that we would invent a special pen for space, rather than using pencils — whether it is an example of our ingenuity, wastefulness, inventiveness, etc.

The joke is that the Soviets used regular pencils and saved their comrades millions, so we have what is one of the funniest dang geek gift items you’re likely to find: The Russian Space Pen.

This is from NASA’s site:

“Fisher developed his space pen with no NASA funding. The company reportedly invested about $1 [I've read that it was $2 million] million of its own funds in the effort then patented its product and cornered the market as a result. Fisher offered the pens to NASA in 1965, but, because of the earlier controversy, the agency was hesitant in its approach. In 1967, after rigorous tests, NASA managers agreed to equip the Apollo astronauts with these pens. Media reports indicate that approximately 400 pens were purchased from Fisher at $6 per unit for Project Apollo. The Soviet Union also purchased 100 of the Fisher pens, and 1,000 ink cartridges, in February 1969, for use on its Soyuz space flights. Previously, its cosmonauts had been using grease pencils to write in orbit.”

Stay tuned next week for the first pseudo-heretical (some would say) and post-hypocritical act of writing about a pen on Pencil Revolution: the Fisher Space Pen.

[Image, JustWrite.com.au. Thanks to Lindsay for the link!]

10 Responses to “Russian Space Pen.”

  1. Nita says:

    Just to say that for the “Rite in the Rain” notebooks, the only 2 items that work are space pens or pencils, no other options are dependable.

  2. Nice post. I’ve been a Fisher Space Pen fan for 5-6 years.

  3. Akis says:

    Hello from Greece,
    I just want to say that I really enjoy the blog and visit it frequently.
    About the space pen vs using the pencil in space I would like to say that there was a necessity in creating
    it. Visit this link and you will see some of the reasons

    http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/spacepen.asp

  4. Jeremy says:

    Who knew Freddy Mercury from Queen was also a Cosmonaut?

    Jeremy

  5. [...] Russian Space Pen 2009 August 3 by quitebaffled via pencilrevolution.com [...]

  6. Ramius says:

    Hi Folks,

    there is just one small mistake with this post:

    the man on the picture is not a russian cosmonaut!!

    He is Bertalan Farkas, the hungarian cosmonaut!!!

  7. [...] SPACE PEN Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. [...]

  8. [...] these kinds of gimmick-heavy digital solutions remind me of the space pen myth, where NASA invested millions developing a pen that would work in zero gravity while the Russians [...]

  9. Space Pens says:

    This is Bertalan Farkas you are quite right Ramius, legendary status in Hungary!

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