An amazing event in space occurred on Friday when three Russian cosmonauts arrived at the International Space Station wearing flight suits of yellow and blue — the colors of the Ukrainian flag.
It’s a good bet that they weren’t wearing those suits when they blasted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on Friday morning. But the Russian mission commander has a perfectly innocent explanation.
I still haven’t found anyone who really knows why the Russian cosmonauts wore yellow flight suits (with Ukraine blue highlights) to board the ISS. However, this is a revealing answer from the mission commander. Just wild if they smuggled these suits on board. https://t.co/UBr1I0WauJ
— Eric Berger (@SciGuySpace) March 18, 2022
It may be a load of BS, but Oleg Artemyev, the commander, has actually worn the same flight suit previously.
Seems he’s worn these exact colours before.https://t.co/4t4uVhLMFu
— Nuno Cruces (@nunocruces) March 19, 2022
There may also be another innocent explanation.
Blue and yellow are the school colors for the Bauman Moscow State Technical School, which all three MS-21 crew members attended. They designed their patch based on the school’s crest. That *could* possibly explain it. pic.twitter.com/qtkwztyG7Y
— RobertPearlman (@RobertPearlman) March 18, 2022
The Russian astronauts did not say anything that would suggest that their clothing was a political statement. Yet it seemed difficult to believe it was happenstance. The outfits worn by astronauts in orbit on a daily basis tend to be subdued. But recent crews from Russia have worn vibrant flight suits of various colors during their arrival, including Yulia Peresild, an actress who arrived on the station in November in a bold red coverall.
It’s hard to imagine that the hardline Russian space director, Dmitry Rogozin, would have allowed the cosmonauts to board their rocket with so obvious a political statement. Rogozin threatened to crash the ISS a few weeks ago. He also threatened to leave a NASA astronaut — scheduled to return to earth in a Russian capsule — in space.
If it was a political statement, these guys will never go into space again. So while the thought that the cosmonauts were giving the finger to Putin from 160 miles up might be gratifying, it’s equally likely it was an innocent coincidence.
Here’s a video of their arrival: