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Sunday, September 6, 2009

We Choose to go to the Moon...

The Year 1969, this is the year the race of the moon reached the peak. It maybe a small step for Armstrong, but it is a big step for mankinds - the eargle landed in a whirl of dust and time just stood still.

Flying to the moon had previously been the realm of science fricition and a distant dream. John F. Kennedy make a historic speech to the U.S. Congress on May 25, 1961. He called for the fullfillment of this dream, and he set a deadline - before the end of decade. Is this possible???

Back then, a lot of American felt it was a crazy plan, a waste of resouces and money, as the moon was at least a quarter of a million miles away. Any such voyage would take a minimum of five (5) days there and back, and it doesn't include the actual time spend exploring the lunar surface.



During Kennedy days, there was an international politices between 2 superpowers; Russian and American. The American was seen as second best both by itself and the others, when the Russian launched the first spaceflight piloted by Yuri Gagarine, who was a son from a ordinary carpenter. It is something that American government found it hard to swallow.

Unlike Armstrong, Gagarin was relatively inexperienced. While he might have the basic training, he doesn't have to use a single thing as the craft was design to autopilot to the destination. Gagarin basically was a passenger, who is a working class and a sons of a carpenter.

Gragarin profile fitted very well into Soivet planned progaganda - In a communist society, anyone have the equal chance and could make history. It is not necessary the elite only.
While the American launched their first flight a few week behind the Russian on May 5, 1961, the perception view by the world and themself were always that the American are 2nd best.

For years, the Russian continue to race ahead. The outside world view the Soviet program as flawless, way ahead of the American and seemed unbeatable. The contiunue to set impressive records one after another.

In 1921, the send two manned spacecraft... 1963, the sent the first woman into space ... and in March 1965, they did the first spacewalk...
The Soviets continue to be seemed as unbeatable and years ahead of the American. Flying program was more like being an airline services.

We don't have to tell you how the race end ...

While both countries fought the 'the space race', one fantastic thing was invention. Introducing the Space Pen by Paul Fisher.

In the early days, pencils was used by the astronauts when they travel to space. The problem with ordinary pencils were they broke very easily, and the lead will float around in the gravity less space cabin causing dangerous situations to the astronauts because of the debris and the scrapts. The worst was that the pencils is not cheap.

As an example, for Project Gemini, NASA ordered mechanical pencils in 1965 from Tycam Engineering Manufacturing, Inc., in Houston. The fixed price contract purchased 34 units at a total cost of $4,382.50 ($128.89 per piece). That created something of a controversy at the time, as many people believed it was a frivolous expense.

Hence, there is a need for a safer and more reliable writing instrument.
Paul see this as an opportunity and start to channel funds and resources into developing. Finally, in 1965, Paul Fisher successfully developed the first pressurized pens – Space pens.

After World War II, Paul worked for Milton Reynolds. During that time, Reynolds introduced a pen that sold for USD$12.50 each. At the store front, the queues were three blocks long to buy the new “fabulous” ball. What people didn't know was the refund line at the back of the store was about 2 blocks long... the pen didn't work well. The pens leaked everywhere.
When Paul was given the pen by Mr. Reynolds, he feedback the pens were no good at all, the basic principle wasn't any good and he walk out of the opportunity. Paul didn't want to be part of it. He went on his on way trying to perfect the ball pen. And it seemed that was not an accomplish able task at that time.

In 1965, NASA visit Paul to request his company to make a pen for space travel. Initially, Paul rejected, telling NSA straight in the face that it cannot be done. NASA was not deter and request Paul to give it another try.

NASA came to us and they said they had been using pencils in space flight, and they said that pencils were too dangerous to use in space during long flights because of the debris and the scrap. NASA asked us, would you make us a pen?
Two night later, Paul dead father visit him in his dream. In that dream, he came to Paul and said Paul, if you add a minute amount of rosin to the ink, that will stop the oozing. The following day, Paul told it to the chemist about that dream, and the chemist laughed.

The chemist continue to work with different possible type and quantity of rosin, but yeast no success. Three months later, the chemist got a break through. He used two percent resin, not rosin, and it work perfectly fine, even with a 140 pounds of air pressure behind it, it didn't leak.

Immediately, Paul called NASA and informed them his company could produced a pen for them. With the discovery, they developed the most valuable patent in all of the pen industry. Now, the pen have been used ever since in all the manned space flights.

There was a rumours that Fisher developed his space pen with NASA funding. Based on the information from the NASA history web, Fisher developed with no NASA funding. The Fisher company invested about $1 million of its own funds in the effort then patented its product and cornered the market as a result.


The Fisher pen was to operate better in the unique environment of space. The new pen, with a pressurized ink cartridge, functioned in a weightless environment, underwater, in other liquids, and in temperature extremes ranging from -50 F to +400 F.

When Fisher offered the pens to NASA in 1965, NASA double the pen concept and its approach, if it will work due to the earlier controversy. After rigorous testing, NASA managers agreed to equip the Apollo astronauts with space pens. The Media reports indicate that approximately 400 pens were purchase from Fisher at USD6/piece.

Later part of the space rate, the Soviet Union also purchased the Fisher pens.
Because of the ability to operate in a unique environment, it is no longer used by the astronauts, but many different government agency, and users who need a pen that can write in air, land or underwater...

This is a pen that you don't leave home without it … in an emergency, you need a writing instrument that you can depend on... and we believe this is the pen.

There are many look alike in the market, ask for the real thing … Fisher Space Pen.

Now, you don't have to travel far to purchase these pens, it is now available at Fook Hing Trading.

Important dates for Fisher:
1965 - Patent # 3,285,228: zero gravity space pen, original AG7 zero gravity pens were developed by Paul Fisher
1968 - Fisher Space Pen used on Apollo 7 after two years of testing by NASA
1976 - The Fisher Space Pen Co moves into its 30,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Boulder City, Nevada from Van Nuys, California
1980 - Paul Fisher selected as Small Business Person of the Year for the State of Nevada
1983 - Fisher Space Pen is used by Ronald Reagan to sign the Proclamation inaugurating the Air and Space Bicentennial Year to celebrate Man's first flight in a hot air balloon near Paris France
1985 - Fisher Space pen Co. produces the Stowaway pen line manufactured using genuine gold from the treasure recovered from the 1622 Spanish Galleon - Nuestra Senora de Atocha
1995-96 - Fisher Space Pen Co. received the Nevada Governor's Industrial Appreciation Award as Exporter of the Year
1996 - Good Morning America names the Fisher Space Pen a best stocking stuffer
1996 - Fisher licensed to produce 150th Anniversary Pens for the Smithsonian
1997 - Fisher Space Pen is used during Everest North Face Ski Expedition. Associated Press released a national article on the Fisher Space Pen Co.
1998 - The Fisher Space Pen is used on the Russian Space Station Mir to write the letters QVV (QVC Shopping Network) - the first product sold in space. Seinfeld builds an episode around the Fisher Space Pen - Seinfeld is berated by his parents for accepting the pen as a gift from a neighbour who offers the Space Pen as a token of friendship.

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