Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Space golf suffers procedural setback.

Interrupting a marketing stint for Element 21 Golf and their new golf club, the commander of the International Space Station has been refused permission to smack a golf ball from the Station into orbit on the current mission. The attempt will be rescheduled for November.

One group of experts claims the golfball, at 8km/hour, could be a threat to the station and other satellites in orbit, while the other says its orbit should finally decay and it will burn up in the atmosphere. This earlier post on orbital debris suggests that the golf ball would be only a minor addition to the debris field already present in orbit, even if it is in the middle of some popular orbits. If it deorbits properly it won't be an issue.

They are billing it as the longest golf shot ever. When they finally take the shot, the golf equipment maker will track the three year orbital descent of the transmitter packed golfball until its final fiery demise. The distance is longer than a 125 million yard drive.

As to the name of the golf club maker, element 21 is scandium, which is one down from titanium on the periodic table of the elements. Titanium is now apparently last year's special metal to have in golf clubs. Scandium is the new titanium.

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