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March 01, 2006

Fore!

Next ISS Commander's Spacewalk Golf Shot Raises Concerns
By Todd Halvorson
FLORIDA TODAY
posted: 27 February 2006
1:36 p.m. ET

CAPE CANAVERAL - A spacewalking Russian cosmonaut plans to hit a golf shot outside the International Space Station this summer as part of a publicity campaign that already has raised safety concerns.

Clad in a cumbersome spacesuit and anchored to a specially designed tee box, Pavel Vinogradov will hit a six-iron drive along side the station's Russian segment, taking great care not to hook the ball into the outpost.

Nataliya Hearn, president and chief executive officer of Element 21 Golf Co., said Russian Federal Space Agency officials initially were concerned that fragile solar panels jutting from the station's Russian crew quarters might be struck.

But an extensive Russian test program -- one involving veteran cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev -- subsequently showed the golf shot in space would be safe, Hearn said.

"If they were not confident that there would not be any safety issues with the structural components of the International Space Station, they would never have gone ahead and approved the full mission," she said.

NASA managers are aware of the plans and are reviewing the safety issues.

The ball is expected to remain in orbit for three to four years.

Posted by joke du jour at March 1, 2006 06:03 PM

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