The Crew Return Vehicle (CRV) is a manned space vehicle which will stay, in dormant mode, permanently attached to the International Space Station. It will act as the Station's lifeboat and ensure the safe return of the Station crew to Earth in an emergency. The Crew Return Vehicle, which is under the programme responsibility of NASA, will offer room for up to 6 astronauts.
The configuration chosen by NASA for the CRV is a so-called "lifting body". That is a vehicle roughly looking like a very narrow glider aircraft. It has no real wings, but short vertical winglets. The shape of the lifting body offers enough lift to allow for aerodynamically-assisted flight manoeuvres, but the resulting landing speed would be to high for the classical aircraft landing technique with wheels. It is therefore foreseen that the CRV lands with the help of a parafoil. That is a very aerodynamical form of a parachute.