Wednesday, August 23, 2006

:: adgruntie :: Golf Balls In Spaaace!

+ Sending two golf balls into orbit for a commercial has been given the green light by NASA. The deal is between the Russian space agency and Element 21 Golf Company, based in Toronto, Canada.
The drives will be made by cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, who is set to launch to the station on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in about a month.

During a spacewalk planned for November, Tyurin will be filmed as he makes the shots from a special platform outside the station. There, a custom-built tee will use two springs to keep the ball from floating away.

The cosmonaut is a golf novice and was tutored in July by a golf instructor and Carol Mann, a retired professional golfer.

He will also make the one-handed swings while wearing a bulky Russian Orlan spacesuit, hampering the power of his drives and lessening the potential risk to the station. "It's not like Tiger Woods taking a drive," Shireman notes.

Tyurin will also hit the balls in the opposite direction from the station's direction of travel, and space debris experts say the balls' possible trajectories will not endanger the station. The golf balls will not be a hazard for any upcoming shuttle, Soyuz or Progress cargo ship flights either, Shireman says.

The balls will be too small for ground radar to track their flight, but NASA estimates that they will burn up in the Earth's atmosphere within three days.

Tyurin and commander Michael Lopez-Alegria of the US will launch to the ISS in a Soyuz rocket from Kazakhstan as early as 14 September.

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