Pen or pencil? How astronauts write in space
|NASA astronaut Walter Cunningham writes with a Fisher Space Pen during the flight of Apollo 7, the first Apollo flight with crew and the first trip of the Space Pen into space. The pens have been used on every NASA manned space mission since then. [Credits: NASA]|
How do astronauts write on board the space station? Are they pencils or ballpoint pens or do they have special pens to write notes in the microgravity of space. NASA recently revealed the detailed information that breaks all myth and speculation about how astronauts write in space, including speculation that NASA spent millions creating a pen that could write in weightlessness while cosmonauts simply used a pencil.
No, astronauts DO NOT use pencils because the pencil lead could easily break off and float away, damage astronauts such as eyes, nose or ears and even endanger sensitive electronics on the space probe / ISS.
Is there a pen made especially for space?
The AG7 is the original Fisher Space Pen which was used in 1968 after two years of testing by NASA in the Apollo 7 space mission.
|The AG7 model was the very first Fisher Space Pen.
Photo credit: Fisher Pen Company
The Fisher Space Pen is designed for use in gravity-free environments. The nitrogen-filled cartridge seals off air and prevents evaporation and oxidation of the ink. The internal pressure pushes the ink outwards towards the ball point. A thixotropic ink is used.
In 2021, the technology was recognized by the Space Foundation as a innovation Designed for space, which is now improving life on earth and bringing together around 80 other technologies in the organization’s Hall of Fame.
History of the creation of Space Pen
Paul and his son Cary Fisher continued to perfect the technology and design new models, and now the Space Pen line includes around 80 models. The Fisher Pen Company has distributors in 52 countries, but still makes all of their pens in Boulder City, where more than 60 employees make over a million pens annually.