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Space and Astronomy Headlines of January 2009

If you’ve dreamed of traveling into the endless space of the Solar System for your very own tour of escape to planets and through stars, then you are certainly not alone. Visiting the Moon or just simply going into space is a dream that many people share. In this article, you will learn some of the latest happenings concerning this desire of many.

Going Into Outer Space”¦

With an increased interest in commercial spaceships, NASA is turning its attention to future rides that allow passengers a trip into suborbital space. While there is no mention of the government showing interest in creating a new niche in space tourism, but they have expressed an interest in seeing how this short rides could benefit science. For example, the suborbital hops only last 3 to 5 minutes and could prove quite beneficial.

If you are interested in pursuing a trip into outer space, you should place Virgin Galatic on your list of companies to call. The buzz is that tourists will be able to purchase rides centered on microgravity. These space launch firms hope to provide the services needed to satisfy the childhood (and adult) dreams of many. Another company to keep in mind includes XCOR Aerospace. There are others as well to consider.

While regular Joes and Janes will be able to make a short flight into space, they aren’t the only ones excited. For such a long time, astronauts were the only people to enjoy a trip into the galactic unknown. Now, researchers and scientists who have longed to see for themselves what the Buzz Adrins and Neil Armstrongs of the world have already seen.

A February Launch for Space Shuttle Discovery

If you’re wondering what all of the talk about the space shuttle Discovery is all about, then you should know that it has been relocated to its launch pad because it is slated for a February trip. The reason? The space shuttle will embark on a supply run to the international space station.

Signed up for the ride is seven astronauts, who will enter outer space on February 12th. This trip will involve the final set of solar wings needed at the space station. Four spacewalks are scheduled so that crew can hook up the new equipment and perform maintenance.

Interestingly, this is not the only thing that the space shuttle will deliver. Hopefully, a rather intriguing machine might make the trip as well. If it is ready, the astronauts will receive equipment that will actually transform their urine into drinking water that is safe to consume. Their initial attempt to bring this kind of technology to the astronauts has already failed, as the processor that was delivered in November does not work. The return trip will bring the old model home to note anything that needs to be corrected.

Another change that the astronauts will see is a change in post , the first Japanese individual to live at the space station , Koichi Wakata.