Russian Cosmonauts Arrive at International Space Station Wearing Ukrainian Colors

by Victoria Santiago
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Three Russian cosmonauts arrived at the ISS on Friday, March 18 wearing suits that seemed to match the colors in the Ukraine flag. The flight suits were yellow with blue accents. These three men were the first new arrivals on the space station since Russia invaded Ukraine last month. The three Russian men are joining two other Russians, four NASA astronauts, and one German on the orbiting space station.

At a Glance

  • Russian cosmonauts launched into space wearing yellow and blue suits, the same colors as the Ukrainian flag.
  • Every crew gets to pick their own flight suits.
  • According to the crew, they chose yellow because they had a lot of yellow material.
  • Since Russia invaded Ukraine last month, many space operations have been put on hold.

Russian Cosmonauts Had Too Much Yellow Fabric

Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveyev, and Sergey Korsakov successfully launched from a Russian-leased facility in Kazakhstan in their Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft on Friday, March 18. Just a little over three hours later, the three cosmonauts smoothly docked at the International Space Station. In total, there are now 10 people aboard the orbiting space station.

Video of the Russian cosmonauts docking at the space station showed them wearing blue flight suits originally. Then, they changed into yellow uniforms. It’s unclear what they were trying to convey with the suits until the cosmonauts had time to talk.

As it turns out, the suits don’t mean anything. According to AP News, Artemyev said that every crew is able to choose their own 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 explained. “So that’s why we had to wear yellow.”

Ukrainian Flag Has Been A Sign of Support

Since the conflict between Russia and Ukraine started, many people have been using the Ukrainian flag and its colors to show support for the country.

This war has impacted all facets of life, including space travel. There have been canceled spacecraft launches and even broken contracts due to the conflict. The chief of Roscosmos even warned the US that they would have to use “broomsticks” to fly into space after Russia vowed to stop sending rocket engines to US companies.

This conflict has reached the International Space Station as well, which is why the colors of the cosmonauts’ suits are interesting. Many worry that this conflict will impact decades of peaceful off-planet partnership at the ISS.

Travel with Russian cosmonauts has even been threatened amid this conflict with Ukraine. Earlier in the month, Russia’s space agency threatened to leave a NASA astronaut at the ISS. Mark Vande Hei (who will be returning home safely) has broken American space records with his time at the space station. Now, he’s scheduled to return home along with two Russian cosmonauts.

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