Monday, November 27, 2006 - The Progress & Freedom Foundation Blog

An Applied-Physics Lesson Would Have Helped

From MSNBC, an astronaut recently hit a golf ball at the International Space Station as a promotional stunt for a Canadian golf company.

Sounds like fun. But wait, look at this picture. Whats wrong with it? Any golfer will tell you that your power (if you're right handed) comes from the torgue generated by your right leg and left arm. Thus, if you're going to hit a golf club one-handed, even in a space-suit, it should be with the left hand. I'm glad Mr. "Space-Cadet" had zero-gravity on his side. Aren't astronauts supposed to be good at physics though?

Excerpts from MSNBC below the fold.

Spacewalker takes orbital golf shot: Russian cosmonaut says ball goes ‘pretty far’ after promotional swing.

A veteran spacewalker — but novice golfer — took a golf shot seen around the world on Wednesday as part of a publicity stunt at the international space station.

Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin took a one-handed tap at a foam-rubber ball with a 6-iron at the beginning of a 5½-hour spacewalk, with NASA astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria serving as his caddy. After the stunt, the two quickly moved on to their other tasks, including work on space station antennas and a science experiment...

...Lopez-Alegria set up a special camera to record the shot for Element 21 Golf, the Canadian golf club maker paying for the promotion...

"Ready, set, assume the position, the way it should be," ...(the astronaut) told Mission Control in Russian. "All right, there it goes — and it went pretty far. It was an excellent shot."

The spacewalkers watched the vanishing white dot as it sailed earthward.

"You got a hold of that one," Lopez-Alegria commented.

Tyurin, who was coached on his role by pros during his training back on Earth, may have "shanked the ball a bit," said NASA spokesman Rob Navias. The ball went off to the right side of the space station, but did no damage...

Element 21 paid an undisclosed sum to the Russians for Wednesday's stunt, which company officials said commemorated the 35th anniversary of astronaut Alan Shepard’s memorable golf swing on the moon during the Apollo 14 mission in 1971...

The ball was struck toward Earth, but because it and the space station are whizzing around the planet at a speed of more than 17,000 mph, its trajectory won't be straight down. Rather, it will follow a gradually decaying orbit.

NASA predicts the ball will re-enter Earth's atmosphere in three days — traveling a little more than a million miles (1.8 million kilometers) in the process. Russian controllers told Tyurin that the ball might stay up for four days.

posted by Noel Le @ 3:51 PM | General