penupmanship:

Take 1:

Some decades ago, not long after the start of the American space program, NASA figured out that ordinary pens will not work under zero-gravity conditions. Therefore, much research effort went into developing a special “spacepen” that could be used by astronauts in outer space. This took years and millions of dollars to develop.

The Russians, meanwhile, used pencils.

Take 2:

A few years after hearing this story and chuckling at the silly Americans, I came upon a spacepen for sale at an outdoor-gear shop. This led me to reflect that perhaps the story should go something like this:

Some decades ago, not long after the start of the American space program, NASA figured out that ordinary pens will not work under zero-gravity conditions. Therefore, much research effort  went into developing a special “spacepen” that could be used by astronauts in outer space. This took years and millions of dollars to develop, and today this remarkable invention is still being sold around the world, extremely useful for many conditions (such as writing in wet weather) and is a profitable venture as well as a technological advance.
The Russians, meanwhile, used pencils. Fat lot of good that did them.

Take 3:

What really happened.

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