Trio of astronauts headed to International Space Station

Astronaut Mike Hopkins Expedition 38 Flight Engineer is shown in this handout

However, a lot of them want the agency to stick close to home.

Compared with ratings of other NASA programs, fewer Americans say crewed space exploration should be a top priority.

The research is focused on a national survey from the Pew Research Center of over 2,500 American adults.

The three astronauts aboard the Russian Soyuz rocket are scheduled to arrive at the orbital space laboratory by the end of the week.

This new space mission will last 187 days.

Rated the lowest on the rankings are further exploration beyond Earth. The two parties tend to agree relatively about numerous priorities, though. Gerst is the only astronaut of the mission that had participated in a space mission in 2014.

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However, if NASA were to send expeditions into space, a majority of Americans say they consider it essential that humans, not exclusively robots, make the trip.

Even with a number of private companies making their mark in space, a majority of Americans (65 percent) say that NASA should still play a significant role in exploring space. Only 33 percent of American adults think private companies have the ability to ensure progress and explore the space, without National Aeronautics and Space Administration's help.

"Highlights of upcoming investigations include a new facility to study ultra-cold quantum gases, the first commercial European facility to conduct microgravity research, and a system that uses surface forces to accomplish liquid-liquid separation", NASA said.

Although the media seems infatuated with private companies like Musk's SpaceX, Americans remain traditionally confident in NASA.

At 1.15pm BST (8.15am EDT) on Friday NASA will stream live the Soyuz MS-09 mission module attempting to connect to the ISS.

According to Casey Dreier, director of space policy at the Planetary Society, this shows that the relationship between NASA and the commercial space industry is poorly communicated to the public.


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