Early Return

“Early Return” was a scenario giving the crew 3 to 24 hours to prepare for deorbit, with a much better chance of reaching one of the three runways. This would have required the same type of action on the part of the crew as “Immediate Return”, but only at a more relaxed pace. The most probable event leading to such a situation would have been a dangerous loss of redundancy in critical on-board systems such as the computers, the GSP gyro platforms, the fuel cells, etc. Even depressurization of the crew cabin was ranked as an anomaly that would give the crew several hours or more to prepare for deorbit, assuming that the loss of pressure was slow enough for the crew to have a chance to don their Strizh pressure suits and hook them up to the Personal Life Support System (the minimum time required for this was five minutes). Cabin systems were designed to operate in a vacuum and the suit’s life support systems could sustain the crew for 12 hours.

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