The Fisher Space Pen.
The name evokes all kinds of high tech caché. I mean,
if it’s good enough to fly to the moon it must be some great
There is even an urban myth that it cost NASA $1 million USD
to develop the pen. But the truth is a bit more mundane than
that as this
article reveals. It seems the pen was developed by the Fisher pen
company with no government funds. That’s right, NASA didn’t
spend a dime creating the pen. Fisher did all the design and
manufacturing of the pen probably more as a marketing effort
than anything else (Pencils work just fine in space, although,
you do have to sharpen them, thus creating a potential problem
with the shavings floating free).
Maybe it’s just me, but the article points out an
interesting sidelight in that astronauts took various souvenir
into space. Some, like a flag or good luck charm seem okay. But
one astronaut took a bra. No, it was not a female (I’m not even
sure a woman needs to wear a bra in space since she would be
weightless and would have no need for support). So one wonders
why the astronaut decided to take it. I can see the ad campaign
now, “The bra worn round the world!” Or perhaps, “The bra worn
to the moon!” Well, I thought it was interesting.
Disclosure: I owned a Fisher Space Pen when I was in high
school. It worked quite well but, in the end, who needs to use
one on Earth when you could buy cheap
BIC pens for probably
around 50 cents? In addition, I also owned, and
still own and use, an
Speedmaster Professional watch (“The First Watch Worn on the Moon!”
It still works quite well, although it looks a bit worse for wear (I got it as
a high school graduation present in 1975).