– They have become iconic in fueling some of NASA's most historic missions. Now, the rockets that propelled the first astronauts into space and propelled men to the moon can help you launch your next letter, school assignment or memo at the office.
Retro 51, manufacturer of the Tornado collection of rolling ballpoint pens, has announced the launch of the Space Race Series, a trio of writing instruments designed according to the first pitchers of the world. NASA astronauts. The pens, distributed in partnership with the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first landing on the moon.
"The Space Race series offers the writer's hand miniature tributes to three iconic rockets that put the first humans on the moon," writes Retro 51. "Each pen is made of solid stainless steel and is screen printed with graphics that evoke the original rockets. "
The pens are inspired by Mercury-Redstone, Gemini-Titan II and Saturn V historical boosters.
Alan Shepard, the first American astronaut to reach space, rode on May 5, 1961 to the summit of a Mercury-Redstone rocket. Three weeks later, President John F. Kennedy addressed a joint session of Congress, declaring, inter alia: to believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, by the end of the present decade, of land a man on the moon and bring him back safely to Earth. "
To acquire the skills needed to achieve Kennedy's goal, NASA has launched the Gemini program. Ten crews of two astronauts each fired on Gemini-Titan II rockets to train and improve on rendezvous, berthing and spacewalk ("extravehicular activities") as well as to demonstrate that humans could live and work in space for up to two weeks at a time. .
The Apollo-Saturn V rocket, which remains to this day the most powerful launcher that has managed to fly, took off with 10 crews of three people, including the 24 astronauts who traveled on the Moon and among them, the 12 who have landed on the moon. surface, between 1968 and 1972.
On July 16, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins launched a Saturn V at the top of the first historic mission that allowed men (Armstrong and Aldrin) to land on the Moon. .
Each pen in the Space Race Series is individually numbered and limited to 1958, the 60th anniversary of the founding of NASA.
The pens are packaged separately in commemorative gift tubes. Mercury and Gemini pens cost $ 50 each. The Apollo pen is priced at $ 60.
The pens are also available in a box with the corresponding serial numbers for $ 170.
Retro 51 will donate a portion of the proceeds from each pen to the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation (ASF). Over the last three decades, the Foundation has awarded more than $ 4.5 million to more than 500 American students pursuing degrees in science, technology, mathematics and engineering.
Space Race Series pens with the lowest serial numbers have been paired with an Apollo astronaut autograph and are sold exclusively by ASF as part of its "On the shoulders of giants" fundraising campaign. Astronauts Charlie Duke (Apollo 16), Jim Lovell (Gemini 7, Gemini 12, Apollo 8, Apollo 13) and Al Worden (Apollo 15) each signed a chosen fingerprint to complete the pens that they accompany.
"Next year, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 mission. Retro 51 is proud to partner with the Foundation for Astronaut Awards to honor and support the brave men and women who have made this achievement possible and continue to target the stars, "the company said.
In September, Retro 51 launched its partnership with ASF by producing an exclusive pen for the "On the shoulders of the giants" campaign. Retro 51 previously offered three limited-edition space-related pens, one of which was themed for the Apollo project and a "Mission to Mars" model inspired by NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket .
The first Retro 51 pen to celebrate the history of space, inspired by Saturn V – "Lift Off", has been voted the most popular pen to date.