Click the arrow to watch the August 15, 2016 ISS spacewalk media event. Video source: NASA YouTube channel.
The Russian news agency TASS reported August 11 that “Roscosmos plans to reduce Russia’s crew at the International Space Station (ISS) from three to two cosmonauts.”
Much of what comes out of Russian media should be treated with a bit of skepticism, but the report did cite as its source Sergei Krikalev, a distinguished cosmonaut who now is the director of their human spaceflight program.
During an August 15 media event to discuss Friday's ISS spacewalk, NASA officials confirmed that they've been notified Russia is contemplating a downsize.
Earlier this month, on August 3, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump insulted the U.S. space program while in Daytona Beach. Trump said, “Look what's happened with our whole history of space and leadership. Look what's going on folks. We're like a third world nation.”
In the reality-based world, NASA partners Boeing and SpaceX are in uncrewed tests with two capsules that will each transport four crew members to the ISS. SpaceX on paper is scheduled for its first crewed test flight in August 2017, while Boeing is scheduled for February 2018.
While Roscosmos downsizes, NASA expands.
In related breaking news, more evidence surfaces of cozy ties between Mr. Trump's campaign and the Russian oligarchy.