Mechanical Pencil, Shuttle

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Display Status:

This object is on display in the Moving Beyond Earth exhibition at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Collection Item Summary:

Pens and pencils are among the simplest technologies used in space. Mechanical pencils like this one are preferred to regular pencils because they do not need to be sharpened, thus avoiding bits of wood debris in the crew cabin. NASA modified these standard commercial products slightly for use in space, adding a piece of Velcro and a short tether cord. These additions enabled an astronaut to keep the pencil attached to a notebook or place it somewhere handy without its floating around in microgravity.

NASA transferred this pencil and a variety of other crew equipment to the Museum in 2012 when the space shuttle program ended.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum

Manufacturer

Credit Line

Transferred from National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Materials

plastic, metal, velcro, fabric, rubber

Dimensions

  • 3-D (Pencil): 14.7 × 0.7 × 1cm (5 13/16 × 1/4 × 3/8 in.)
  • Other (Tether Length): 44.5cm (17 1/2 in.)

Country of Origin

United States of America

Type

EQUIPMENT-Miscellaneous

Inventory Number

A20130275000