The anti gravity pen for astronauts came into limelight after the big success of Bollywood movie 3 idiots. The pen featured in the film is not a fiction it is a reality. Joke about the pen
Joke about the pen visualised in the movie is actually taken from an old story on the space war between Russians and Americans. It is said that while the Americans were spending lot of money on inventing a pen that could write in space the Russians used pencils!. But of course this is a Joke. The truth is that the Russians and the Americans were using pencils for their space missions but these pencils turned out to be hazardous. The dust from the lead began clogging the electrical points of the spaceship and also was hazardous to the health of the Astronauts.
Invention of the pen: Paul C. Fisher, a technical pioneer, scientist and philosopher vowed to develop the world’s most dependable writing instruments. in 1965, after countless experiments and a personal investment of over a million dollars in research, Fisher invented the pressurized cartridge which was approved by NASA for the Apollo program and is used on all manned space flights!
To develop this pen, Fisher perfected a refill using thixotropic ink, which remains semisolid until the shearing action of the rolling ball inside liquefies it. The cartridge was pressurized with nitrogen so that it didn’t rely on gravity to make it work. It was dependable in freezing cold and desert heat and could also write underwater and upside down. The trick was to have the ink flow when needed and not the rest of the time – a problem Fisher later solved.
Fisher Space Pen makes pens for NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) for its space missions. The USP of the pen is Zero Gravity refills, the only pen that will write upside down because it is pressurized with nitrogen gas, Thixotrophic ink (cement like consistency) allows it to write 2 times more than normal refills and releases ink only when required, write on almost any surface like wood, under water, glossy paper, oily surface, wet surface, upside down etc, The tip is tungsten carbide (a hard metal which is break resistant), can write under the extreme temperature of –30 degree and +250 degree.
Success in space: The space race was on and the astronauts involved in the Mercury and Gemini missions had been using pencils to take notes in space since standard ball points did not work in zero gravity. The Fisher cartridge did work in the weightlessness of outer space and the astronauts, beginning with the October 1968 Apollo 7 mission, began using the ‘Fisher AG-7 Space Pen’ and cartridge developed in 1966. In July 1969, the Apollo 11 space mission used the Fisher Space Pen to fix an arming switch that was crucial to bringing back the astronauts safely back to earth – taking writing instruments and their use to a whole other level.
The journey thereafter: Designed to withstand the rigors of space travel, Fisher Pens have earned the reputation of a superior technical pen for all applications. The NASA Astronaut Pen is the most well known of the Fisher Product line, praised for its durability, dependability and design. The New York Museum of Modern Art has cited the Fisher Bullet Pen as an outstanding example of industrial art.
From where to purchase?
Let us come back to the heading. Where it is available in India? William Penn– The World Pen store retails the pen exclusively in India. You can purchase the same pen featured in the film for Rs. 1750/– Other than the online purchase option you can get it from the outlets in Bangalore, Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad.