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NASA looks at commercial side of International Space Station, seeks business partners

08 June 2018

NASA's new boss says major changes could be ahead for the International Space Station but there will always be an American astronaut in orbit. Eighty percent say the International Space Station has been a good investment for the country. The three astronauts will be greeted by their fellow Expedition 56 crewmates: NASA astronauts Drew Feustel and Ricky Arnold and cosmonaut Oleg Artemyev.

While human missions to Mars or the moon maintain a high-profile at NASA, and they're also part of the Trump Administration's long term goals for space exploration, public support for such missions is low.

According to NASA, the trio will orbit Earth a total of 34 times before arriving at the outpost on Friday, June 8. The hatch opening will occur at just after 11 a.m. ET, with the three astronauts entering the space station soon after.

They will spend six months aboard the station, joining the three-man crew that's already aboard.

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"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.

The crew will have to perform 55 scientific experiments during their mission, as well as head into outer space, carry out maintenance work and shoot videos.

"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".

A majority of Americans say NASA should remain a global leader in space exploration, but a recent Pew Research study looking at the public's perception of the US space program find support for a human mission to the moon or Mars is low.

NASA looks at commercial side of International Space Station, seeks business partners