During the heat of the space race in the 1960’s, NASA quickly discovered that ballpoint pens would not work in the zero gravity confines of its space capsules. After considerable research and development, the Astronaut Pen was developed at a cost of $1 million. The pen worked in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, on almost any surface including glass and also enjoyed some modest success as a novelty item back here on earth.
The Soviet Union, when faced with the same problem, used a pencil.
Via: Smart Jokes
The Space Race refers to the 20th-century competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union (USSR) and the United States (US), for dominance in spaceflight capability. It had its origins in the missile-based nuclear arms race between the two nations that occurred following World War II, aided by captured German missile technology and personnel from the Aggregat program. The technological superiority required for such dominance was seen as necessary for national security, and symbolic of ideological superiority. The Space Race spawned pioneering efforts to launch artificial satellites, uncrewed space probes of the Moon, Venus, and Mars, and human spaceflight in low Earth orbit and to the Moon.