Most Americans want the U.S. to remain leader in space exploration

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

Most Americans want the U.S. to remain leader in space exploration

A Russian Soyuz rocket carrying three astronauts blasted off from Baikonur spaceport in Kazakhstan on Wednesday for a two-day journey to the International Space Station. This crew will be comprised of Sergey Prokopyev of Roscosmos, Serena Aunon-Chancellor of NASA and Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency.

The Soyuz MS-09 ship has successfully entered a designated orbit and is set to dock at the space outpost Friday.

The three astronauts will join Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold of NASA and Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos, who are now on the station. The crew is scheduled to work on some of the roughly 250 experiments and studies underway at the station during their planned five month stay.

You can catch the coverage from 8:15 a.m. ET, with the docking expected to take place at 9:07 a.m. ET.

Among the 42% of Americans who would be interested in traveling into space, 45% of them say the main reason for their interest would be to "experience something unique".

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The three astronauts returned safely to Earth on June 3 in a parachute-assisted landing on the steppes of Kazakhstan.

When it comes to political parties, 70 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning Americans believe that NASA is still vital in the future of the industry, but only 59 percent of the total Republicans and Republican-leaning Americans say the same.

The capsule has already made several trips to and from the space station, taking supplies and other cargo.

NASA has a vast portfolio of different missions, but when rating nine of these missions, most Americans say that monitoring the climate system (63 percent) and monitoring asteroids and other near-Earth objects for potential collisions (62 percent) should be top priority.

"Strong public support that the USA should continue to be at the vanguard of space exploration is widely shared across gender, educational and political groups".

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