The Great Space Race...
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.
After considerable research and development, the Astronaut Pen was
developed at a cost of about $1 million U.S. The pen worked and also
enjoyed some modest success as a novelty item back here on Earth.
The Soviet Union, faced with the same problem, used a pencil.