When manned space missions began, astronauts used pencils to write in outer space. But the lead often broke and became a hazard floating in the capsule's atmosphere, possibly causing a short in an exposed electrical connection within the spacecraft. Since the cabin fire on Apollo 1, in which three astronauts lost their lives, NASA required writing instruments that would not burn in a 100% oxygen atmosphere.
American Ingenuity at Work
Paul Fisher, who was president of
Fisher Pen Co.
, had been manufacturing ball point pens since 1948. When he heard John Kennedy's challenge to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade, he started thinking about how ordinary ball point pens would have trouble writing in space, but if a pen could be sealed and pressurized, it would keep the solvents from evaporating in the vacuum of space and would also provide a reliable ink supply to the pen point. In 1966, after several years and many experiments, Fisher successfully developed the first pressurized pen.
Fisher sent his Space Pen samples to Dr. Robert Gilruth, Director of the Houston Space Center. The Fisher Space Pen was thoroughly tested by NASA and passed all tests. NASA began using the Fisher AG-7 Anti-Gravity Space Pen on the Apollo 7 Mission in October 1968.
Fisher Space Pen is still in use on all manned space flights today. It was used during NASA's Apollo and Space Shuttle Program Missions as well as on the Mir Space Station and onboard the International Space Station.
Made for Space, Cherished on Earth
Fisher Space Pen is an iconic symbol of American technology and classic design. Its popular Bullet Space Pen is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and was also featured in an episode of the hit series "Seinfeld" entitled The Pen.