It was an ordinary Sunday in the summer of 1969. Americans went about their day as usual, starting with church, followed by barbecues, and afternoon baseball. Despite its average beginning, July 20, 1969 would mark one of man's greatest triumphs, thanks to three men in a metal tube hundreds of thousands of miles away. Families sat in front of glowing black-and-white boxes, as man set foot on the moon for the first time. As Neil Armstrong took one giant leap for man kind, humanity was reminded that its potential was limitless, and for just a moment, anything was possible. For just one night, Americans dreamt of exploring the cosmos instead of buying a new car.
The Fisher Space Pen was adopted by NASA in the mid 1960's and accompanied the astronauts of the Apollo 11 mission that brought America to the moon. Writing with a Space Pen feels a bit like writing with a piece of history. Granted, designs and materials have changed, but the spirit of the original pen is still there. This spirit isn't bound by the limits of the imagination, but rather lives in the world of "what if." Space Pens remind their users to try a little harder, go a little farther, and shoot for the stars.
The Fisher Bullet Space Pen comes in a clear plastic display case, nested carefully in foam that's shaped to look like a moon rock. The pen looks as if its an artifact in a museum, and the careful detail in the pen's packaging foreshadows the pen's stellar performance. The Bullet Space Pen is shockingly small, in a way that intimidates someone, like me, who has large man hands. The pen has a nice weight and feel, due to its aluminum body and matte finish. I purchased the black matte version of the Bullet Pen, but there are several materials and finishes available. The matte finish provides substantial grip, making it easy to manipulate the pen in hand and reducing hand fatigue during intensive writing sessions. The pen is simply one of the best looking pens that I own, which is shocking considering that it's standard price falls below $20.
My Instagram feed is littered with images of everyday carry (EDC) load outs, but I hardly consider myself a rugged mountaineer in need of a pen that writes underwater. That said, the Fisher Bullet Space Pen is an EDC enthusiast's dream. The pen writes upside down, underwater, through almost any slimy substance that you can throw at it, and even in space. The pen's writing durability is due to a special pressurized cartridge and ink formulation. The pen ball is made from a super-hard tungsten carbide and is precision fit to the ink chamber, to prevent seepage as well as the clicking sound that cheaper ballpoint pens make. The cartridge is also designed to work in a wide range of temperatures, even those at which humans could not survive. In short, this pen will work in almost any situation imaginable and could even be used to make a journal entry while you're boiling alive.
Although the pen is tiny enough to slip into a pocket comfortably when capped, it is long enough to rest comfortably in the webbing between my thumb and index finger when posted. The pen posts with a friction fit, although the cap wobbles just a bit. It's possible to crank the cap down onto the end of the pen, but the wobble isn't noticeable enough to warrant damaging the pen barrel. The o-ring at the base of the pen's grip ensures that the pen seals when capped, protecting the tip of the pen from air or other nasty contaminants.
It's important to note that I use fountain pens almost exclusively and have never reviewed a rollerball pen on A Better Desk. I've been looking for a solid traveling pen that I can take on an airplane without having to worry about leakage or complicated storage solutions. It takes some work to move from a fountain pen back to a rollerball pen, so give yourself time to adjust before setting out on whatever journey lays ahead of you. Fountain pens work better when the nib is at a sharp angle to the paper, while rollerball pens work best when held as vertically to paper as possible. The rollerball tip feels much bigger and less precise than a typical fine-nibbed pen and requires additional pressure.
I've grown to love the Fisher Bullet Space Pen, after a few days of practice and regular use. The pen writes very smoothly and without the stickiness of a standard cheap ballpoint pen. The pen leaves a deep black line on the page, without having to excerpt so much pressure that writing becomes uncomfortable. Fisher claims that their Space Pen cartridges last longer than standard cartridges, due to their pressurized ink chambers, but I haven't had the pen long enough to verify.
The Fisher Bullet Space Pen can be purchased with an optional clip, although it does break the streamlined shape of the pen. Most reviews mention that the clip is unstable and doesn't secure firmly to the body, but I've found the opposite to be true. My clip holds so tightly to the pen body that I initially had a hard time removing it.
Fountain pens remain my favorite type of pen for now; however, I plan to carry the Fisher Bullet Space Pen whenever the situation calls for a versatile alternative to my beloved fountain pens. The Space Pen performs so well that it doesn't feel like a compromise, and its unique history makes it a reminder than anything is possible every time I pick it up.