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Gallup Survey Shows Americans Support New Plan For Space Exploration

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Cape Canaveral FL (SPX) Jul 20, 2004
NASA and the US space program enjoy broad support and interest from the American public, according to the results of a new Gallup survey coordinated by the Space Foundation and sponsored by the Coalition for Space Exploration.

More than two-thirds (68%) of the American public say they support a new plan for space exploration that would include a stepping-stone approach to return the space shuttle to flight, complete assembly of the space station, build a replacement for the shuttle, go back to the Moon and then on to Mars and beyond.

With funding for such a program expected not to exceed 1 percent of the federal budget, 42% of adults surveyed say they support the program and 26% strongly support it.

Of note in this presidential election year is that a majority of Republicans (79%) and Democrats (60%) support such an exploration plan.

When it comes to NASA's budget, almost two-thirds (63%) of American adults surveyed think NASA's budget should remain at present (37%) or increased (26%) levels.

NASA's current share of the total federal budget is .7%, or about $55 per year for the average taxpayer. During the height of Project Apollo, NASA's share of the budget was about 4 percent.

"These poll results are extremely important and historically significant as the nation considers its future direction in space," said Jeff Carr, communications director for United Space Alliance, a founding member of the Coalition for Space Exploration.

"Those of us in the space community have always believed the public supports the space program and wants to see it fully funded," Carr said.

"Thanks to the Gallup organization's expertise, the Coalition now can demonstrate widespread support for the elements of the Vision for Space Exploration." Among the Gallup survey's other findings:

+ Seven in ten adults (70%) surveyed believe the benefits of humans exploring space are worth the potential risks to astronauts.

+ Two-thirds (66%) of the adults surveyed agree that it is important for the nation to have a space program that includes both human and robotic exploration.

+ Two-thirds (67%) of the adult public report having some interest in America's space program including one in four (24%) who say they are very interested.

+ Of five possible answers, most (29%) said the most popular reason why America continues to explore space is because it is human nature to do so.

+ Two-thirds (68%) of adults agree that the quality of our daily lives has benefited from the knowledge and technology gained by the space program.

The complete Gallup survey report and supporting data will be posted on the Coalition for Space Exploration web site.

Related Links
Coalition for Space Exploration
The Space Foundation
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