My husband takes pens very seriously. He searches out pens with the right weight, feel and ink flow onto paper. This is sometimes a long process. When he finds one he really likes, it is a tragedy if his current favorite gets lost.
Right now, my husband is loving his Space Pen. The ink flows with ease and the pen feels good in the hand. However, for my husband, the Space Pen has another winning quality. The Space Pen is an anti-gravity pen, meaning it will write upside down. The pen will, also, write in freezing cold and desert heat, even underwater!
My husband is a home builder. He is out in all types of weather, (here in Illinois, we get it all!) and he often has the need to write up against a wall, as there are limited flat, horizontal surfaces on a job site. Not all pens can perform in those conditions. The Space Pen can.
The Science Behind The Space Pen
Paul Fisher, of the Fisher Pen Company, first patented the “anti-gravity” pen in 1965. Fisher had already created pens and universal pen refills, but he thought he could make them better. A problem with standard ball point pens is leaking. They rely on gravity for ink flow so they can’t be sealed tight enough to prevent ink from leaking out when not writing 100% of the time.
Fisher came up with a nitrogen pressurized pen cartridge. He paired the pressurized cartridge with a thixotropic ink that was semisolid until the shearing action of the rolling ball liquefied it. This way the ink would only flow when writing. The pressure inside the cartridge ensures that the pen doesn’t need gravity to work. The pressure of the nitrogen pushes the ink out no matter the orientation of the pen.
Why Call It A Space Pen?
The “anti-gravity” pen caught the attention of NASA scientists. After much testing, they determined that Parker had truly come up with a pen that would work in the weightlessness of space, something no pen they had tried before could do. Beginning with the Apollo 7 mission in 1968, the “anti-gravity” pen has been used on all US manned space flights. Russian cosmonauts, also, began using the pens in 1969. Thus, the “anti-gravity” pen became known as the “Space Pen”.
Science Is Everywhere
Have you ever considered the science behind everyday things? Have you thought about how and why things we use everyday were even created? Have you ever thought about the science of helium balloons? Science is everywhere!