Trio of astronauts blast off to global space station

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Before funding to the International Space Station runs out, Bridenstine said that he is working on a transition plan for a private company to take it over and run it as a commercial space laboratory.

"Strong public support that the US should continue to be at the vanguard of space exploration is widely shared across gender, educational and political groups". In addition to the United States, other countries, such as Russia, Canada, Japan, and the European Union, participate in the International Space Station.

Political leanings do play a part when it comes to assessing NASA's priorities, especially in climate issues, which is a top priority for more Democrats (78 percent) than Republicans (44 percent).

The rookie's late inclusion into the mission came at the expense of Jeanette Epps, who would have been the first African-American to serve on a long-term mission aboard the space station had she flown as expected.

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Americans have not flown to space aboard US-made spaceships since 2011, when the 30-year space shuttle program was retired. Overall, 58% of US adults believe it is essential to include the use of human astronauts in the future USA space program, while 41% say astronauts are not essential. It may, but most Americans still believe NASA's role will be vital in the future.

In terms of advancement, approximately 50 percent of Americans believe space tourism will be possible within 50 years, although 58 percent say that they wouldn't actually want to leave Earth. Most Americans, 80 percent of them, displayed confidence that private companies will make a profit from space exploration.

The 7% of the public that is highly attentive to news about NASA and private space companies tends to express more confidence in these companies to handle key aspects of space exploration.

Twenty-six percent of Americans have a great deal of confidence that private companies will be able to build safe and reliable spacecraft, and 23 percent don't have too much confidence, or have no confidence at all.

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