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Did you spend $100 Million on Space Pens?

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Fox

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I want to share a little funny story that I heard as a kid...
(this is the version I remember anyway)

Russia and America were about to be working together on a joint space mission in the early days of space exploration. It was the first time they would ever be working side by side in space and the Americans were eager to make sure they came away looking as the more professional space team...

An issue that they were having though was that this was going to be a scientific mission. Lots of experiments and note taking. These were the days before word document applications so this would all be done by hand. The Americans set out to develop a pen that could withstand the extremes of space. Your typical pen at the time would usually fail right away once they escaped the orbit of earth. It would need to within stand severe temperature and pressure changes. And of course the zero gravity!...

They decided they couldn't be shown up by the Russians so they called in the best pen experts. They created all sorts of space pen prototypes, ran multiple tests, spent millions on developments. In the end they had a pen that would preform without error 93% of the time and could last up to four days! Huge success....

So launch day comes and they blast off. They go into orbit without any issues and dock with the Russians on a joint space platform to begin their 2 week mission. They can't wait to show off this new pen knowing that the Russians would not have been capable of building such a device...

So the first experiment starts and the Americans can barely contain their laughter. They are waiting for the Russians to attempt to use their inferior pens and attempt to take notes. While doing the initial observations they start to grin as the main Russian astronaut reaches into his pocket to take out his pen to take notes. The American flight captain winks at his flight crew. But his expression quickly changes as the Russian astronaut takes out a simple cheap pencil and easily jots down his thoughts. He sees the confused Americans looking at him and his pencil...
"Do you Americans need pencil too? I got many boxes."

---

Lesson is results matter first and foremost.
Start from there and works backwards.
 

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AgainstAllOdds

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Don't mean to take away from the lesson... it's a good lesson, and a good story, but highly inaccurate: Fact or Fiction?: NASA Spent Millions to Develop a Pen that Would Write in Space, whereas the Soviet Cosmonauts Used a Pencil

Some key points:
  • The pens were made by a private company for about $1MM, sold to both NASA and the Soviets at $2.39 a pen.
  • The company that made the pens later used this point as marketing and sold it mass market - liking reaping a significant return in terms of sales
  • Pencils were not the best to use in space because the tips flaked, drifting in microgravity, potentially destroying incredibly expensive equipment.
  • Story's still a great story.
 
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Fox

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Don't mean to take away from the lesson... it's a good lesson, and a good story, but highly inaccurate: Fact or Fiction?: NASA Spent Millions to Develop a Pen that Would Write in Space, whereas the Soviet Cosmonauts Used a Pencil

Some key points:
  • The pens were made by a private company for about $1MM, sold to both NASA and the Soviets at $2.39 a pen.
  • The company that made the pens later used this point as marketing and sold it mass market - liking reaping a significant return in terms of sales
  • Pencils were not the best to use in space because the tips flaked, drifting in microgravity, potentially destroying incredibly expensive equipment.
  • Story's still a great story.

LOL - funny. Ya its a good point but I figured it was BS. Ireland loves little stories like this that poke fun at other countries!
 

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