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Russian cosmonaut hits golf ball into space from orbiting craft

Mikhail Tyurin, a Russian cosmonaut, hit a golf ball into space during a walk from the International Space Station orbiting Earth.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration posted a video clip of the shot on its Web site, saying it took place during a six-hour walk involving Tyurin, a flight engineer, and Commander Michael Lopez-Alegria of the US, that began at 7:17 p.m. Eastern Standard Time yesterday. „It went pretty far,” Tyurin said on the video, according to translated comments. „It was an excellent shot.” The space station orbits about 240 miles (386 kilometers) above Earth.

The lightweight golf ball will have a short stay in orbit of perhaps three days before it is destroyed when it falls into the Earth's atmosphere, NASA said. Tyurin put the tee on a ladder to hit the ball that weighed 3 grams (0.1 ounces), compared with a standard ball weighing 46 grams, NASA said on its Web site. He used a six iron club for the shot that was sponsored by Element 21 Golf Co., a Canadian company, the BBC reported. It didn't say how much the company paid the Russian Space Agency for the stunt.

Tyurin and Lopez-Alegria also inspected an antenna and set up and retrieved equipment during their space walk. Alan Shepard, the commander of the US Apollo XIV craft that went to the moon, hit golf balls on the lunar surface during the mission in 1971. (Bloomberg)