Tennis in space, anyone? Astronauts have a ball during historic match


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NEW YORK — Final night time (Aug. 21), astronauts made historical past by enjoying the first-ever tennis match in area aboard the Worldwide Area Station. The match was projected stay onto an infinite globe in Queens, New York, the place a crowd of area and tennis fanatics gathered to observe the historic occasion.

NASA astronaut and area station commander Drew Feustel performed fellow NASA astronauts Serena Auñón-Chancellor and Ricky Arnold together with European Area Company astronaut Alexander Gerst within the microgravity doubles match.

Through the heated match — the complete video of the occasion may be seen right here — the astronauts struggled with the constraints of a microgravity atmosphere (whereas being cautious to not trigger any harm to the station). However Feustel was well-prepared: He’s a lifelong tennis fan, and he obtained some pre-match suggestions from skilled tennis participant Juan M. del Potro, which he described on Twitter.

The astronauts used tiny tennis racquets and a tennis ball to play — tools designed to be protected to make use of aboard the area station. “You actually do not wish to break a window or one thing,” Gordon Smith, government director of the USA Tennis Affiliation (USTA), instructed The occasion occurred on the Unisphere, an enormous globe in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in Queens that was as soon as the centerpiece of the 1964-1965 New York World’s Truthful. The  cosmic tennis match was projected onto the Unisphere.

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Feustel predicted that the sport would possibly look a bit just like the traditional online game “Pong,” and it turned out that he was proper. Due to the dearth of gravity, the ball did not bounce and, as soon as it was hit, it traveled straight till hit once more.

However, because the astronauts had been hitting the tennis ball in microgravity over a makeshift web, they themselves floated round. In order that they confronted the added wrestle of attempting to remain upright to hit the ball to the fitting location.

Feustel and Arnold, whom Feustel jokingly known as the “assistant to the commander” (a reference to the tv present “The Workplace”), ended up securing the victory within the extraterrestrial tennis match.

However, regardless of successful the match, Feustel made it clear that enjoying tennis in area is not any straightforward process. “I really feel slightly bit winded,” Feustel stated afterward. “It was a tough match and enjoying in microgravity is hard.”

Smith, who introduced the projected match to an excited viewers of area and tennis fanatics, is thrilled to see area and tennis come collectively: “What could possibly be cooler?” he stated. He additionally instructed that the USTA is “about innovation, and I believe tennis in area is modern.”

As for the way forward for area tennis, Smith stated he’s hopeful about extra extraterrestrial matches. “I believe we will need to have an everyday competitors in area,” he instructed “I believe the astronauts are going to be vying for who’s going to be the very best tennis participant in area.”

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