In the early days of the space race, NASA found that ordinary ball-point pens worked poorly in zero gravity. As anyone who has tried writing upward with one knows, the pen will not leave a mark after a few lines. Gravity is needed to move more ink forward and replenish the tip. To resolve this crisis, NASA formed a team of engineers to design a pen that could work in space. Many months and millions of dollars later, the Space Pen was revealed. The remarkably expensive device could write on paper no matter which direction it was held. The Russians used a pencil.
This is an account of what really happened with the Space Pen, in contrast to the false story being passed around the Internet for decades.