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    The Soyuz MS spacecraft carrying the crew of Kate Rubins of the U.S., Anatoly Ivanishin of Russia and Takuya Onishi of Japan blasts off to the International Space Station (ISS) from the launchpad at the Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, July 7, 2016.

    Russia Could Cut Down International Space Station Crew

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    Head of Piloted Space Programs and cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev said that Russia’s space agency Roscosmos plans to cut down the number of cosmonauts on the International Space Station.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia’s space agency Roscosmos plans to cut down the number of cosmonauts on the International Space Station (ISS), Head of Piloted Space Programs and cosmonaut Sergei Krikalev said.

    "We have sent letters to the participants of the ISS program – we want to hear their opinion on how to cut the crew and when," Krikalev said in an interview with the Russian Izvestia newspaper.

    According to Krikalev, three people, which is the current crew at the Russian segment of the ISS, is too much for the equipment that is now used there.

    "The intention to cut the crew is due to the fact that we have reduced the number of cargo ships sent to the ISS, as well as due to the awareness of the need to increase the effectiveness of the program," Krikalev said, adding that reducing the number of cosmonauts at the ISS will also cut down expenses.

    In July, Roscosmos head Igor Komarov said that Russia is ready to discuss the possible formation of joint ISS crews with other BRICS states (Brazil, India, China and South Africa). Russia is also discussing the issue with NASA (US National Aeronautics and Space Administration), as well as with the European Space Agency (ESA), according to Komarov.


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