Thu, Aug 24, 2006
It's In The Hole! Er, Airlock!
This Thanksgiving will witness an event of unprecedented
scientific discovery and innovation aboard the International Space
Station... one that will no doubt advance the cause of all
humankind for ages to come.
That's right... after several delays and more than a few raised
eyebrows, there WILL be golfing outside the ISS.
Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin is set to show off his swing
before kin, country, and country club November 23... after NASA
officials came to the protracted conclusion that an errant golf
ball will pose no threat to the station, should the flight
engineer's drive go off the fairway.
"It's not like Tiger Woods taking a drive," said Kirk Shireman,
NASA deputy program manager of the ISS, regarding the chances an
errant three-gram golf ball -- hit by an astronaut wearing a bulky
spacesuit -- would cause damage to the station.
As you may recall, the golfing excursion -- originally set for June, but delayed over
mission and safety concerns -- is all for a good
cause: bringing much-needed funds to the Russian space program.
And as for the timing of
the... um... event? Well, it turns out November 23 marks the 35th
anniversary of another stellar event in links history -- Apollo 14
astronaut Alan Shepard's teeing off on the moon in 1971.
No one is saying just how much Canadian golf club manufacturer
Element 21 paid for the stunt -- but regardless of the ultimate
pricetag, Tyurin and US commander Miguel Lopez-Alegria are set to
blast off aboard a Soyuz capsule sometime in mid-September, to
begin a six-month stay aboard the station (they have other stuff to
They'll join European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Reiter, who
was brought up onboard the space shuttle Discovery last month.
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