During the heat of the space race in the 1960's, the U.S. National
Aeronautics and Space Administration decided it needed a ball point pen
to write in the zero gravity confines of its space capsules.
research and development, the Astronaut Pen was developed at a cost of
about $1 million. The pen worked and also enjoyed some modest
success as a novelty item on Earth.
Russia, faced with the same problem, used a pencil.