When former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson lifts off on her first commercial space mission, she will have a familiar tool along with her.
Fisher Space Pen has partnered with Axiom Space, the Houston-based space services company that Whitson now flies for, such that she and her crewmates on the upcoming Ax-2 mission will be the first to use Axiom-branded Fisher space pens. Whitson used NASA-issued Fisher space pens on her three previous flights to the International Space Station.
“I am excited about the idea that we’re continuing the legacy of taking Fisher pens to space,” said Peggy Whitson in a video released by Fisher on Tuesday (May 16), five days before the first launch opportunity for the Ax-2 mission. “It’s really been a very long history [for] these space pens. I’m looking forward to using them again.”
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Although Whitson holds the records for the most time in space by an American and by a woman, her 666 days (to date) pale in comparison to the total years logged by Fisher space pens, which first launched in 1968 and have since been flown to the moon and used in Earth orbit.
Ax-2 pilot John Shoffner and mission specialists Ali AlQarni and Rayyanah Barnawi, both with the Saudi Space Commission, will be the first first-time fliers to use Fisher space pens as they travel with Whitson aboard a SpaceX ‘ spacecraft and live on the International Space Station for their eight-day mission.
“Our partnership with Axiom Space is one giant step in extending my grandfather’s legacy,” said Matt Fisher, vice president of Fisher Space Pen and the grandson of the late Paul C. Fisher, who in 1966 invented the pressurized ink cartridge that makes Fisher’s pens ideal for use in microgravity. “He would have been ‘over the moon’ excited to see this partnership come to fruition.”
Beginning with Ax-2, Fisher Space Pen will provide Axiom Space’s clients and crew with its black titanium nitride Astronaut Space Pen emblazoned with Axiom’s logo. The pen is similar to the model first used by the Apollo 7 astronauts, only with a dark titanium body. The original astronaut pens were made from solid brass with a chrome finish.
In addition, Fisher is offering to the public its Bullet and Cap-O-Matic space pens, also bearing Axiom’s logo, with a new coating.
“This unique Navy Blue color is from Cerakote’s ‘ELITE’ series,” reads Fisher’s description. “The ‘Elite’ series is known to rival Teflon with unmatched abrasion, corrosion and chemical resistance, while maintaining a premium look and feel,”
The black titanium nitride Astronaut Space Pen, identical to the type Whitson, Shoffner, AlQarni and Barnawi will use, is now for sale from Fisher’s website for $118 each. The Bullet space pen in Elite Navy Cerakote retails for $46, while a version with a black clip is two dollars more. The blue Cap-O-Matic is $43.
According to Fisher Space Pen, the Axiom Space partnership is expected to extend beyond Ax-2 to the company’s continuing private missions, including launches to Axiom’s commercial space station under development. Axiom is the only company to have an agreement with NASA to dock its first modules to the International Space Station, where they will be outfitted and tested before flying independently in Earth orbit.
Axiom Space was also chosen by NASA to develop and provide the spacesuits for Artemis 3, the first mission to land a woman and the next American on the moon. While a pen was not explicitly mentioned, Axiom previously said it would be equipping its AxEMU suit with all of the tools that an astronaut would need while exploring the lunar south pole.
“Teaming up with Axiom Space is a great honor of ours,” said Matt Fisher. “And we’re humbled that they’ve selected us to partner up on this historic mission, and we look forward to the future with them.”
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