This year, Fisher Space Pen Co. celebrates the 50th anniversary of the maiden flight of its iconic “astronaut” pen aboard NASA’s historic Apollo 7 mission in October, 1968. The Fisher AG7 Original Astronaut Space Pen was invented by Paul C. Fisher, who created a patented pressurized ink cartridge that keeps solvents from evaporating and allows ink to flow in zero gravity. Fisher sent samples of his prototype to Dr. Robert Gilruth, Director of the Houston Space Center. The prototypes were thoroughly tested by NASA and passed all tests. NASA astronauts began using the Fisher AG-7 Anti-Gravity Space Pen aboard the Apollo 7 Mission and Fisher Space Pen has been used on all manned space flights since, including NASA’s Space Shuttle Program missions, the Mir Space Station and the International Space Station. History of the Fisher Space Pen.
Today, the Fisher Space Pen brand has become an iconic symbol of American technology and design. Its popular Bullet Space Pen is in the permanent collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art for its bold, futuristic look. Fisher Space Pen has also become part of American pop culture. It is not only used and enjoyed by millions around the world, it is also the subject of hundreds of fan videos and has been featured on several TV programs including an episode of the hit series “Seinfeld” entitled “The Pen.”
“We are extremely proud to be celebrating fifty years in space,” says Cary Fisher, President of Fisher Space Pen. “My father Paul Fisher was a visionary who personified American entrepreneurship and innovation. Our products are sold all over the world but we are is still a family business manufacturing high-quality, state-of-the-art writing instruments, proudly Made in the USA.”
The Apollo 7 Mission is a historic first in many respects: It was the Apollo Program first manned space flight; the first time a Saturn IB vehicle flew into space; the first three-person American space mission; the first space mission to include a live TV broadcast from an American spacecraft; and the first time astronauts began using the newly-developed Fisher AG7 Anti-Gravity Space Pen.
The Fisher Space Pen Pressurized Ink Cartridge enables the free-flow of ink in zero gravity. It writes upside down, under water, on almost any surface, in extreme temperatures ranging from -30 to +250 degrees F (-35 to +121 Celsius) and three times longer than the average pen.
History of the Fisher Space Pen
When manned space missions began, astronauts had a problem finding writing instruments that would work in zero gravity. Regular pens did not work because the ink wouldn’t flow in zero gravity. Instead, 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 fire on Apollo 1, in which three astronauts lost their lives, NASA required writing instruments that would not burn in a 100% oxygen atmosphere.
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 ballpoint 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 gravity-free 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 his patented pressurized ink cartridge, inside every Fisher Space Pen.