The stunt will take place during a spacewalk by flight engineer Mikhail Tyurin scheduled for November, NASA officials have said.

Safety officers gave the go-ahead for the swing saying it poses no threat to the space station or the crew since the golf ball weighs only 3 grams and will return to Earth's atmosphere in three days.

"It's not like Tiger Woods taking a drive," said Kirk Shireman, deputy program manager of the international space station.

Moon shot

Alan Shepard hitting a golf ball
on the moon during Apollo 14

Element 21 Golf Co., which is paying an undisclosed sum for the stunt, said it wants to publicize its new line of clubs and commemorate the 35th anniversary of the time astronaut Alan Shepard hit golf balls on the moon during the Apollo 14 mission.

Tyurin and US commander Miguel Lopez-Alegria will be launched to the space station in a Russian Soyuz vehicle in mid-September for a six-month stay.

That trip will follow a few days after Atlantis departs the space station if the space shuttle is launched before September 7.

Japanese space tourist Daisuke Enomoto was supposed to join Tyurin and Lopez-Alegria on the trip for about a week in space, but the Russian space agency announced on Monday that the businessman had failed a medical test and would not go.