How a Deep Drawn Metal Space Pen™ Saved Apollo 11

How a Deep Drawn Metal Space Pen™ Saved Apollo 11

How a Deep Drawn Metal Space Pen™ Saved Apollo 11

Created By: accurateforstg
December 16, 2014

In 1965, the first anti-gravity space pen™ was patented. These pens were unique in their ability to write in a zero gravity environment at any angle, which made them perfect for astronauts during space missions. The first such pen was used during the Apollo 7 mission in 1968, and again on the famous Apollo 11 mission during which the first human footprints were forever embedded in the surface of the moon.

What most people don’t realize is that the sleek, precise, strong alloy bodies of these pens were actually produced using the deep drawn metal stamping method. Even more unknown, is the story behind how this little tough pen saved the Apollo 11 mission from disaster!

As the story goes, the astronauts were returning to the lunar module after taking their famous first steps on the lunar surface. As they crawled back inside the small craft, one of their life support backpacks struck against a plastic handle that operated the arming circuit breaker switch, breaking it off and causing it to trip. This switch was meant to activate the lunar module’s main engines for the return trip to the mother spacecraft. Without the means to activate the switch, the astronauts would be trapped on the moon surface.

Back on Earth, engineers worked furiously to devise a rescue plan. They knew that the astronauts had no way of manually operating the switch as they had left behind all of their tools in the interest of weight.

All except one.

The small, light, strong pens that the astronauts carried might just be enough to activate the switch, and allow the module to return safely. The process was simple; retract the ball and use the pen to reset the circuit breaker making it functional again. Fortunately for the astronauts, the pen was small enough, and strong enough, to slip inside the switch housing and activate the reset switch to make the circuit breaker operational.

Nobody but the astronauts know what feelings washed over them as the module’s engines came to life. They likely never thought about the deep drawn process that had created the tough little pen. All they knew was that they needed the pen to perform, and it did.

The pen, by the way, still exists today. In fact, others like it are still being manufactured every day using the same deep drawn metal stamping process that made the original. Still tough, precise, and reliable as ever.

Just ask Buzz Aldrin.


How a Deep Drawn Metal Space Pen™ Saved Apollo 11

With a streamlined process, Accurate Forming was able to increase production volume and reduce costs successfully allowing the company to improve the durability and visual appearance of the product.

This worksheet will help you with the following:


Easily compare the Deep Drawn process and the Screw Machining process to decide which one is the most effectively meets your needs.


Learn what to look for in a parts manufacturer and what questions you should be asking suppliers.


Quickly provide information on two of the most popular metal forming processes used today.

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