Fore! If you’re looking for a way to improve your golf slice, someday down the road PUMA Golf may have the solution and they’ll have space technology to thank. This is so cool!
I learned about this during the #SpaceX4 #NASASocial I attended last week. One of the research projects carried up to the International Space Station (ISS) by the SpaceX CRS-4 resupply mission on Sept. 21 will study plating metal with the goal of manufacturing a better golf club.
This is to “make cool stuff that works,” said Mike Yagley, Director of Research and Development Testing at Cobra PUMA Golf, and “this is about the works.”
The research isn’t necessarily about making a better golf club – that will be the residual – the process will also be applied in other fields.
Although this is the first space-based research PUMA will be conducting, no golf clubs were sent in Dragon, the spacecraft which was launched atop a Falcon 9 rocket. Instead, all microgravity research will be “conducted within a self-contained box with two cylinders,” according to Yagley.
Plating, a way of layering metal, will be done using a water-based, liquid solution and rub tests will be conducted to determine how durable microgravity plated metal is vs. when it’s processed on earth.
Questions PUMA hopes to have answered with this research include, does microgravity plating allow electricity to conduct better? Will it make the metal, and a golf club, more durable?
So how does a golf equipment company get the opportunity to conduct research on the International Space Station? Well, it’s a collaborative effort with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), Cobra PUMA Golf, NASA, and SpaceX.
Under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract, SpaceX is committed to at least 12 resupply missions to the International Space Station, filling a need left void with the ending of the space shuttle program. SpaceX CRS-4 was the fourth mission under this contract.
CASIS manages the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory with the goal of supporting research that will enhance life on Earth. They bring non-traditional players to conduct space research and since the large costs are fronted by NASA (such as fuel because they need to resupply the ISS anyway), it’s not as expensive for organizations to send research up to space. CASIS approached Cobra PUMA Golf during the PGA Golf Show in Orlando and in 2012 the two groups committed to make this happen.
Since I work in marketing, I found these little nuggets interesting, too. PUMA developed the CASIS “Advancing Research Knowledge 2” or “ARK2” mission patch. Guess what? I received a sticker and T-shirt with the mission patch! In addition to showing the ISS, it has crossed golf clubs and a golfer. (See above.)
CASIS-sponsored projects on this mission include life science, hardware development and materials research experiments.
And, PUMA will become the first company to leverage the “Space Is In It” trademarked seal. Created by CASIS, the seal is intended to increase awareness of the good that comes out of research on the ISS National Lab and connect station science with American culture by identifying consumer goods that were born from research in space.
I’m not a golfer but I just think this is so amazing. When I worked in Death Valley, our pitch was, “it’s the lowest round of golf you’ll ever play at 215 feet below sea level,” because the Furnace Creek Golf Course was below sea level. I wonder what golf legends , Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus would have said about this space technology.