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By Mark Carreau, Houston Chronicle Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
Feb. 4--The veteran Russian cosmonaut assigned to command the international space station this spring has questioned NASA's plan to have the crew of a damaged shuttle wait on the orbital base for a rescue mission.
Months before Discovery is scheduled to lift off, Sergei Krikalev, who becomes the station skipper in late April, has asked NASA to consider cutting Discovery's crew from seven to four. And if Columbia-like shuttle damage forces an emergency rescue, he thinks two Soyuz capsules could do it quicker than one U.S. backup shuttle.
"As soon as I knew the shuttle would …