The first episode of the new series What’s the Story? by the online store Dat Twenty focuses on the real story behind the Fisher space pen. The pen is sometimes cited as an example of government waste, with a story claiming NASA spent millions of dollars developing the pen while the Russian space program simply used pencils in space.
That story isn’t true, and because of the electrical conductivity of pencil graphite and the flammability of wood, pencils are a terrible writing implement for spaceflight. The pens were actually developed by inventor Paul C. Fisher, who later sold them to NASA.