NASA ponders de-crewing the space station in November

Universe Today — a great site, and one you need in your daily web-reading routine — has a story up that NASA may have to bring the crew on the International Space Station back to Earth by mid-November.

This drastic measure has not yet been decided, nor will it be for a couple of months. The basic reason is two-fold:

1) The Russians are having a problem with their unmanned Soyuz rockets used to resupply the station. A rocket launch last week failed to achieve orbit due to an anomaly in the third stage, and the capsule was lost. The astronauts on board the space station have supplies that can last for quite some time (the final Shuttle mission brought up quite a bit), so the loss of the cargo was not so much an issue. The real problem is…

2) The ISS currently has two Soyuz capsules docked to bring astronauts home. These docked capsules have a lifespan of about 200 days due to fuel issues. One of them is supposed to bring three of the six astronauts home in September, leaving one capsule for …