Three Russian cosmonauts have landed at the International Space Station wearing colors that match the Ukrainian flag, reported The Guardian on Saturday. Cosmonauts Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveyev, and Sergey Korsakov, of the Russian space corporation Roscosmos, took off from the Baikonur launch facility in Kazakhstan in their Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft on Friday at 8.55 pm local time.
Three hours later, they docked at the station wearing yellow and blue. As soon as the cosmonauts were able to communicate with their families back on Earth, Artemyev was asked about the suits.
“It became our turn to pick a color. But, in fact, we had accumulated a lot of yellow material so we needed to use it,” he said. “So that’s why we had to wear yellow.”
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A show of support for Ukraine?
However, many believed it was a show of support for Ukraine. "Three Russian cosmonauts who just docked with the ISS arrive in Ukrainian yellow!" former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly tweeted in both Russian and English.
It's not clear yet why the astronauts chose those colors but there is a fear that Russia may stop letting the U.S. use its spacecraft to get to the ISS. Roscosmos chief, Dmitry Rogozin, has already stated that the U.S. would have to use “broomsticks” to fly into space since Russia would no longer make its rocket engines available to U.S. companies.
Harsh comments dismissed
However, NASA administrator Bill Nelson dismissed Rogozin’s harsh comments. “That’s just Dmitry Rogozin. He spouts off every now and then. But at the end of the day, he’s worked with us," Nelson explained.
“The other people that work in the Russian civilian space program, they’re professional. They don’t miss a beat with us, American astronauts and American mission control. Despite all of that, up in space, we can have a cooperation with our Russian friends, our colleagues.”
Time will tell whether the war interrupts all U.S. space missions.