Due to damage to a Soyuz crew vehicle, SpaceX and the International Space Station mission management team have added a seat in the Crew Dragon.
A micrometeorite struck Soyuz MS-22 in December and damaged the vehicle. However, the replacement MS-23 will not arrive until February 22 or later.
Due to the month or more delay, the ISS mission management team wanted to err on the side of caution. As such, they worked with SpaceX to reconfigure the Crew Dragon to hold five people. This reconfiguration meant that NASA astronaut Frank Rubio’s seat was moved from the MS-22 to the Crew Dragon.
If the ISS does need to be evacuated, the Crew Dragon will hold five astronauts, while the the MS-22 will hold two cosmonauts. NASA astronauts Josh Cassada and Nicole Mann completed the work inside the Crew Dragon to accommodate the reconfiguration.
Once MS-23 arrives in February, the crew will reconfigure the three seat liners to the new vehicle, while the MS-22 returns to Earth without a crew. However, due to the incident, the MS-22 crew could be looking at an extended stay in space.
The MS-23 will come up empty, which means their 3-person replacement crew will not be re-leaving them until at least Fall.