There are a couple of quick ways to check the number of people in space, right now there are 3. Usually the ISS has a crew of 6. The launch planned for the other 3 crew was delayed indefinitely due to a technical issue with the Soyuz craft:

in a one-sentence announcement on its web page early Saturday, Roscosmos, the Russian federal space agency, said the launch had been delayed “for technical reasons after tests at the Baikonur Space Center.”

It is not yet know how long the Soyuz might be grounded or what impact the delay might have on downstream flights.

Sometimes when crews are rotated, briefly there are 9 people on the ISS until the crew being relieved go home. I had thought that would be the preferred method, actually, to avoid being short-staffed, in case something just like this happened. Is it common for there briefly to be only 3 people on the station?

It looks possible that this delay could stretch out to weeks. Will the current crew be able to perform all the needed duties alright if they are in this situation for that long? Could some duties be foregone to keep their work load manageable?

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    $\begingroup$ Little to no science will be done. With 2 Russian crewmembers and 1 US , doing a US EVA would be highly problematic and mostly likely wouldn't be attempted except in a dire situation. Grappling a visiting vehicle such as Dragon normally takes 2 US crewmembers; it may be possible for the ground to act as R2 in this situation, but it would not be optimal. Bottom line, it's a highly sub-optimal situation. $\endgroup$ Oct 3, 2016 at 17:02
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    $\begingroup$ My previous comment may have been in error. I just realized that Takuya Onishi is a JAXA astronaut and therefore counts as a US crewmember. I do not know, however, if he has been trained in EVA and robotics (if I had to guess, I would say that he has been). JAXA crewmembers have served as US robotic operators and performed US EVAs in 2006 and 2012, so it is possible the restrictions I mentioned may not apply. It was certainly incorrect for me to say 2 Russian crewmembers. $\endgroup$ Oct 3, 2016 at 21:00

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Yes, this could cause issues. Normally about 5 people are required full-time for maintenance. They need 6 people to get any science done.
So they're going to be looking at contingency plans right now.

The handover planning may be caused by a shortage of docking ports (you'd need 3 Soyuz docked simultaneously to have 9 people on board). But I don't know the current station configuration.


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