Coincidence or political gesture? Three Russian cosmonauts arrived at the International Space Station on Saturday wearing yellow and blue suits, which correspond to the colors of the Ukrainian flag. A gesture praised by many netizens, who considered it a declaration against the ongoing war in Ukraine. An explanation quickly rejected by Russia
Three Russian cosmonauts who took off on a Soyuz rocket Friday as planned on Saturday arrived at the International Space Station, where they were greeted by two Russian colleagues, four Americans and a German. However, one detail caught the eye: their uniforms were completely yellow and tied with blue stripes, the two colors of the Ukrainian flag.
In the context ofRussian invasion Underway in the Eastern European country, backlash quickly faded. many international media, Including the British daily times, linked this stance to a “declaration against war”, while many netizens described the gesture as “courageous” and “strong”. “Nice to see,” famous astronaut Chris Hadfield tweeted.
Today, the three Russian cosmonauts arrived at the International Space Station dressed in the colors of Ukraine, and the gesture was powerful. And seeing the four American cosmonauts, two Russians and one German, equally welcome. He wrote privately on the social network New technologies and digital media specialist Bruno Guglielminetti. However, the latter agreed in a later post that the gesture was “definitely not” intentional, as astronauts’ clothing is “determined long in advance.”
“These Soyuz flight suits are usually picked and packed a few months before the mission launches. So it could be a coincidence,” noted space journalist for Ars Technica media Eric Berger on Twitter. “But it seems like a very, very big coincidence if that is the case.”
These Soyuz flight suits are usually picked and packed a few months before the mission is launched. If it is possible this is a coincidence. But it seems like a pretty big coincidence if that’s the case.
– Eric Berger (@SciGuySpace) March 18, 2022
The Director-General of Roscosmos, the agency responsible for Russia’s civilian space program, Dmitry Rogozin, quickly responded on Saturday by denouncing the “information war against Russia.” in the current situation On his Telegram accountHe noted that the colors of the uniforms of the three cosmonauts who traveled to the International Space Station on a six-month space mission were intended to represent some of those found “in the emblem” of Moscow-Bauman State Technical University, where they graduated.
He insisted, “We will not give up certain colors in the emblem of Baumann University” or the colors of the Soyuz-2 carrier rocket launch complex.
The university concerned, for its part, is pleased On his website That “For the first time during the operation of the International Space Station, there are five astronauts from Roscosmos on board [de celle-ci] at the same time.” But she did not comment on the uniforms of the three astronauts who arrived there on Saturday.
fragile international cooperation
Until recently, space cooperation between Russia and Western countries was one of the few areas that was not much affected by the sanctions imposed on Moscow after the 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.
However, some tensions emerged, especially after the Russian president Vladimir Putin Nationalist Dmitriy Rogozin appointed head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos in 2018.
The latter regularly shows support for what Russia calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.
“Ours!” he said on Twitter a few hours before its launch, for the first time in many years, that it’s an all-Russian crew.
This weekend, the official claimed that recent Western sanctions against Moscow could cause the International Space Station to fall.
According to him, the work of Russian ships supplying the International Space Station will be disrupted by the sanctions, which will affect the Russian part of the station. And he warned that this could cause a “landing” of the International Space Station, which weighs “500 tons.”
The engines of Russian ships moored at the station are used to correct the orbit of the space structure. A procedure that is carried out ten times a year to keep it at a suitable altitude, or to avoid space debris in its path.
Joel Montalbano, NASA’s station program manager, emphasized Monday that only Americans don’t have this ability. “The space station is designed on the basis of the principle of interdependence […] It is not a process in which one group can separate from the other. »
At the moment, there is no indication that our Russian partners want to do things differently. So we plan to continue operations as we do today.
– Agence France-Presse