Mon, Feb 07, 2005
Sergei Krikalev Worried About Risks To Station
Krikalev has some issues.
The man who will command the next crew aboard the International
Space Station is worried that NASA's emergency plan for saving the
crew aboard a crippled shuttle.
It's a plan that calls for the shuttle in distress to make its
way to the ISS, where the crew will eventually be rescued by
another shuttle flying an emergency mission, will endanger the
"We need to prepare a backup plan for this backup scenario,"
said Krikalev, quoted by Reuters.
Specifically, he's concerned about the extra burden an
unscheduled shuttle crew would place on the station's supplies of
food, water and air.
"It's going to be difficult. The station cannot stay in this
configuration for a long time," he said.
How long is a question only NASA can answer. When Discovery
makes the space agency's return to flight, more than two years
after the shuttle Columbia disintegrated over the skies of Texas
and Louisiana, NASA has agreed to put Atlantis on the pad as an
emergency rescue vehicle. But even space agency executives are
concerned about the prospect of sending up a second shuttle without
valid information about the problems aboard the first.
"If the situation which requires people to stay (aboard the
station) happened, it will be a very difficult decision to send
another shuttle to try to rescue them," Krikalev said.
So far, there's been no reaction to the cosmonaut's comments
from NASA. Krikalev spoke during a news conference at the Johnson
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