In the days of cold war, competitive spirit and corresponding sense of urgency across different political blocks was at its peak. NASA was feverishly working towards launching the man into space. One of the problems NASA faced, ballpoint pens, which work at lower altitudes, will not work in zero gravity space atmosphere. It was a challenge because astronauts needed to write bunch of data readings all the time during their sojourn in space.
A special task force in NASA was created. Several executive level meetings took place. And finally NASA outsourced the work of ‘making a ball pen work in space’ to an agency, specializing in fluid dynamics at high altitudes. This contract was all important and had a binding obligation of completing the research and development of this special writing device. NASA spent almost 21 million dollars on this effort and finally had the ball pen ready, which could work in space and this was delivered IN TIME.
Russians used the pencil.