According to NASA, an emergency may be solved by using a SpaceX Crew Dragon craft currently affixed to the International Space Station (ISS) to return extra crew members to Earth.
International space agencies, including NASA and Roscosmos, collaborated to develop a plan to safely return crew members to Earth after a coolant leak in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft attached to the ISS in December. They ultimately decided to deploy a spare Soyuz rocket that will launch in February.
Between now and the arrival of the new Soyuz, observers were worried about what would happen if an emergency called for the evacuation of the ISS.
SpaceX Crew Dragon As An Escape Vehicle
Normally, crew members would leave the station in the same spacecraft they had arrived in, but with the Soyuz leak, it’s unclear if those vehicles would be safe for a return trip. The Soyuz might overheat when it returns through the atmosphere of Earth if its coolant were to run out.
The Soyuz that leaked is supposed to return to Earth without its crew, and the crew members who were supposed to board it are supposed to board the replacement Soyuz instead. The Russian cosmonauts Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin would go in the Soyuz that had the leak, while NASA astronaut Frank Rubio would ride in the SpaceX Crew Dragon with the other four members of Crew-5 in the event of an emergency evacuation.
Regarding the NASA astronaut who rode the Soyuz to the space station, NASA and SpaceX collaborated to determine if it would be safe for the Crew Dragon to transport five crew members instead of four. This involved evaluating the airflow, oxygen supply, and security of the landing.