Russian Federation may cut the number of cosmonauts on the ISS

NASA maintains a three-person crew, which often includes an astronaut from one of the agency's global partners.

No decision has been made just yet, and NASA assured press yesterday that this doesn't mean Roscosmos will be backing out of the ISS program prematurely. Sergei Krikalev, director of human spaceflight at Roscosmos, said that a letter about the possible change had been sent to the participants of the ISS program.

Asked during a news conference about media reports that Russian Federation was considering reducing its staff to two, Nasa's Kenneth Todd said the ISS partners - which include Canada, Japan and the European Space Agency - were aware of the proposal. But NASA showed concern about safety of other crew members and global space station if a member is reduced. And Russia has managed its own crew of three cosmonauts on the ISS since 2010, according to the Planetary Society.

The standard crew size for the ISS has stayed at six for the past few years.

From now till 2025, Roscosmos plans on spending $4.1 billion for station maintenance. The three-person launches from Kazakhstan will also drop from four to perhaps two times per year once NASA changes its delivery model.

Russian Federation may shrink its government-run space program from three cosmonauts living and working aboard the International Space Station (ISS) to just two.

What Russia plans on doing in the future is something which no one really knows about. However, the agency did not provide any additional information.

During Monday's media briefing (which was held to discuss a NASA spacewalk scheduled for Friday, Aug. 19), Todd said of the Russian crew reduction, "At this point it's strictly a proposal they put on the table, and we'll look at it".

Rubins and Williams will conduct a spacewalk on Friday, Aug. 19, 2016, to install the first International Docking Adapter (IDA), the new docking port that will enable the future arrival of US commercial crew spacecraft. Todd said Russian Federation has committed to the current program at least through 2024, but NASA is concerned about possible risks from a reduced staff.

The strength of the crew on board the ISS may actually go down to less than half a dozen astronauts thanks in no small part to Russian Federation.

Since 2009 there have typically been six people living aboard the International Space Station (ISS) - a floating laboratory 250 miles above the Earth's surface and a symbol of international cooperation.

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