Astronauts en route to space station after successful launch

The Expedition 56 crew. Front row from left to right Drew Feustel and Alexander Gerst. Back row from left to right Oleg Artemyev Ricky Arnold Sergey Prokopyev and Serena Aunon-Chancellor

In this family-friendly event, Col. Bresnik will share his experiences in space, answer questions, and provide an opportunity to take a photo or get an autograph.

The annual US investment in the space lab ranges from $3 to $4 billion.

Bridenstine also said his top two priorities were the resumption of human spaceflight from the US -since 2011, American astronauts have relied on Russian transportation to get to the ISS-and going back to the Moon with the help of a new, nearby outpost that could ferry supplies there.

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. Even as private companies are emerging in the industry, NASA remains an absolutely necessary source of space discovery, according to study participants.

Most of the respondents said NASA has an essential role to play in space exploration but foresee private companies making more meaningful contributions in areas like spacecraft development and scientific research.

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). However, 58 percent say they have no interest in taking this trip themselves, stating that the trip would either be "too expensive", "too scary", or that their age or health would not allow it.

Although the media seems infatuated with private companies like Musk's SpaceX, Americans remain traditionally confident in NASA. Across all generations, men are more likely than women (51% vs. 33%) to say they are interested in traveling into space as tourists.

Americans weigh in on the space program, lauding NASA's existence as essential.

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