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Gallup Survey Shows Americans Support New Plan For Space Exploration

07/18/2004

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Jul. 19, 2004) -- NASA and the U.S. 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 at http://www.spacecoalition.com.

About the Coalition

The Coalition for Space Exploration is a collaborative effort whose mission is to ensure the United States will remain a leader in space, science and technology -- key factors that will benefit the nation's economy, gratify our need to explore, and maintain our national security.

The Coalition seeks to generate momentum and enthusiasm for the Vision for Space Exploration by sharing the excitement and tangible benefits of our space program with the general public and our nation's leaders.

The Vision for Space Exploration redirects NASA's budget and provides marginal increases to focus the agency on accomplishing the achievable, affordable goals of deploying a new Crew Exploration Vehicle, returning to the Moon, and traveling on to Mars and beyond.

The new era in space exploration is to begin with launch of the space shuttle in 2005, followed by completion of the International Space Station and use of the orbiting outpost to study the long-term effects of spaceflight on the human body.

Founding members include ATK Thiokol, The Boeing Co., Lockheed Martin and United Space Alliance. Other members include Aerojet, Analytical Graphics, Inc. (AGI), California Space Authority, Florida Space Authority, Hamilton Sundstrand, Harris, Honeywell, Northrop Grumman, Moog, Pratt & Whitney, National Space and Satellite Alliance, and the Space Foundation.

Additional information about the Coalition and the nation's Vision for Space Exploration can be found online at http://www.spacecoalition.com.

About the Space Foundation

The Colorado Springs, Colo.-based Space Foundation is a national non-profit organization, which vigorously advances civil, commercial, and national security space endeavors and educational excellence.

In addition to the Foundation's signature event, the National Space Symposium, the Space Foundation and its partners also annually conduct Strategic Space, scheduled Oct. 5-7, 2004, in Omaha, Neb. For more information, visit http://www.spacefoundation.org.

Survey Methodology

The survey results are based on a nationally representative sample of 1000 telephone interviews with a general population sample of adult men and women age 18 and over residing in telephone households. The Gallup Organization's full-time interviewing staff conducted the survey during the period of June 22 - July 7, 2004.

The survey was commissioned by The Space Foundation in an effort to better understand the extent of support and public attitudes toward America's space program.

For results based on samples of this size, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects could be plus or minus three percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias in the findings of opinion polls.

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