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Cosmonaut criticizes "safe haven" plan
Posted: Sat, Feb 5, 2005, 9:46 AM ET (1446 GMT)
ISS illustration (NASA) A Russian cosmonaut who will be a member of the next long-duration International Space Station crew said Thursday he isn't sure that the station can serve as a "safe haven" should a shuttle be unable to return to Earth. Sergei Krikalev. who will command Expedition 11 starting in late April, said he has asked NASA to cut the size of STS-114, the first post-Columbia shuttle mission, from seven to four. Krikalev said that if the shuttle suffers damage during ascent and cannot return to Earth, it would be possible to return the shuttle and station crews to Earth on two Soyuz capsules, one of which would already be docked to the station. Otherwise, a rescue would require the combined nine-person crew to survive on the station for weeks until a rescue shuttle could be launched. NASA officials said they intend to keep a seven-person crew on STS-114.
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