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The Item They Forgot To Load With Apollo 13


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10 replies to this topic

#1 MHBru

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 05:02

Everyone knows the story .. even though it was 50 years ago .... Jim Lovell has mentioned there was one thing NASA didn't pack that became a part of future missions....  Let's suppose you are an astronaut going to space..regardless of what you write with.. what to write on?  (edited per comments) That's what they didn't have... there was no blank paper on the spacecraft and as you can imagine they wanted to take a lot of notes.  What would be your choice of paper?   Our imaginary mission is only 14 days long so you won't need a 400 page journal  What do you take?  Include the size and paper style... lined?  dot grid?  blank?  Cornell style? something else?  For me?  I think a Clairefontaine pocket notebook. .. lined.  


Edited by MHBru, 07 August 2020 - 17:25.


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#2 A Smug Dill

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 09:07

Write on astronauts' skin with Noodler's Kung Te-Cheng ink.


As always:  1. Implicit in everything and every instance I write on FPN is the invitation for you to judge me as a peer in the community. I think it's only due respect to take each other's written word in online discussion seriously and apply critical judgment.  2. I do not presume to judge for you what is right, correct or valid. If I make a claim, or refute a statement in a thread, and link to references and other information in support, I beseech you to review and consider those, and judge for yourself. I may be wrong. My position or say-so carries no more weight than anyone else's here, and external parties can speak for themselves with what they have published.  3. I endeavour to be frank and truthful in what I write, show or otherwise present when I relate my first-hand experiences that are not independently verifiable. If it is something you can test for yourself and see the results, I entreat you to do so.


#3 Uncial

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 09:40

Sadly a fountain pen would not work. Nasa spent a lot of time, effort and money in developing a pen that would write in space. The Russians took pencils.



#4 BaronWulfraed

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Posted 07 August 2020 - 15:44

Sadly a fountain pen would not work. Nasa spent a lot of time, effort and money in developing a pen that would write in space. The Russians took pencils.

Possibly a capillary fill model with a fiber-filled reservoir. Presuming the vibrations during launch don't shake all the ink into the cap. Any other reservoir style is going to have significant problems with pressure changes, and the lack of gravity to draw the ink to one end (assuming one is even oriented with "down" pointing at the earth).



#5 inkstainedruth

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 17:20

Weight and space would be an issue.  So something small, like a blank page Leuchtturm1917 or Rhodia A6 notebook, with the elastic band so you could hook a pen or pencil clip.  I'd want blank pages so I could draw as well as write (I know one former Apollo astronaut, forget who, became a painter afterwards).

Yeah, ink would be a problem (I've seen how other liquids float around in space capsules) -- even with something like a Parker 51, which was designed in part for dealing with changes in air pressure).  I don't remember when the Fisher Space pen was developed, so I'd likely bring my trusty Berol Turquoise lead holder, and probably have at least a 3H lead in it (and maybe something even harder).  Not sure an eraser would be a good idea, except maybe a kneaded eraser.

Ruth Morrisson aka inkstainedruth


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#6 abstract49

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Posted 08 August 2020 - 22:12

As for the space pen, I recall acquiring one at the 1964 World Fair in NYC.  Of course, we were duly impressed with the new technology, such an improvement over the simpler ball points available up to then (and ever since).

 

As for what to write on or in, well whatever the individual astronaut has room for and likes to write in.  Personally, I like an A5 with lines, but since a fountain pen would be impractical in zero gravity, the paper's fp friendliness would not be critical if that was to be the last use it had.  That said, I might want it to be good fp stock so that I could continue using it with a pen upon return to Earth.  As for bp, space pen, or pencil, I think I would opt for pencil while in space.



#7 Conan the Grammarian

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 14:35

Nasa spent a lot of time, effort and money in developing a pen that would write in space. The Russians took pencils.

 

​Turns out that story's false.  The Space Pen was privately developed and not funded by NASA.

 

For going into space, I'd take a gridded notebook - either an A5 or pocket-sized Moleskine-style notebook, one that I can carry in a pocket and that has enough pages so I don't run out.  I'm not worried about not filling the notebook, but running out of paper when I need it.  Although, for weight concerns, a Field Notes notebook might be better - still gridded so I can draw, plot, or write.


Conan the Grammarian

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#8 carlos.q

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 15:19

So NASA did not spend millions por a space pen but according to the article:

"In fact, NASA ordered 34 mechanical pencils from Houston's Tycam Engineering Manufacturing, Inc., in 1965. They paid $4,382.50 or $128.89 per pencil. When these prices became public, there was an outcry and NASA scrambled to find something cheaper for the astronauts to use."

And that's $128.89 in 1965 dollars... way more than a MB149 at that time!



#9 BaronWulfraed

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Posted 10 August 2020 - 21:53

It was probably $4.50 for the pencil, and $125 for the testing (distributed over the pencils finally ordered). Testing probably included studies of graphite residue that might get into the air, compounds that might out-gas from the plastics used, exposure to radiation, vibration testing for launch survivability...



#10 Uncial

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Posted 11 August 2020 - 21:56

Awww, I liked the pencil story.

#11 FLZapped

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Posted 29 August 2020 - 14:41

It was probably $4.50 for the pencil, and $125 for the testing (distributed over the pencils finally ordered). Testing probably included studies of graphite residue that might get into the air, compounds that might out-gas from the plastics used, exposure to radiation, vibration testing for launch survivability...

Indeed, NASA became paranoid about materials after the Apollo 1 fire.








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