The United States and Russia are making contingency plans for an emergency evacuation of the two-man crew aboard the International Space Station .
In Moscow Friday, Russian space agency officials say food supplies on the station have fallen below acceptable reserve levels. They say if a resupply mission scheduled for December 25 is significantly delayed, the crew will be forced to abandon the station.
U.S. space officials termed the situation “critical”, but said there is enough food to last until early January.
Cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov and astronaut Leroy Chiao are only two months into their scheduled six-month stay aboard the space station. They have been asked to curb their calorie consumption.
Officials say, if necessary, the two men will be evacuated aboard a Russian Soyuz escape capsule which is always docked at the space station for emergency situations.