Thursday, June 25, 2009

Pencil in space

The pencil in space story is an oft repeated story on Innovation. (Mads commented on it yday). Coincidentally, as I went through the reader, I discovered that the story was somewhat of an urban legend. Yes, I am coming late into this...

There's a tale often told in design circles of how, in the heat of the space race, NASA paid over a million dollars to develop a pen that worked in zero gravity. The Russians, however, took a different approach. They used a pencil.

And that Space Pen story? It's simply not true. Pencils were problematic for both Russian and American astronauts. Pencil tips can break off and float away, potentially blinding an astronaut or causing a short in electrical equipment. The Space Pen itself, is very real. Paul C. Fisher of Fisher Pen saw the need and developed it on his own, investing a reported million dollars in the project. The result was the famous Fisher Space Pen which employs a pressurized ink cartridge. It's been used by both American and Russian astronauts since the late '60s. It also became a huge commercial success, still selling forty years after its development. [Fast Company]

Read the whole post here...

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