Russian cosmonauts wear Ukrainian colors while boarding the International Space Station | Science and technology news

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Russian cosmonauts have boarded the International Space Station (ISS) in unusual yellow space suits, prompting speculation that the move was a quiet gesture of defiance in support of Ukraine.

The three men, Sergey Korsakov, Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveyev, are the first to be welcomed aboard the ISS since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in February.

Video of one of the men as their space capsule docked with the station showed him in a traditional light blue suit, but this was swapped out for another matching the colors of the Ukrainian flag before he and his colleagues actually entered.

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Russian cosmonauts Sergey Korsakov, Oleg Artemyev and Denis Matveyev arrived at the ISS

Was it really a gesture of defiance?

When asked about the importance of the space suit, Mr. Artemyev explained that each crew could choose their own flight suit to stand out from the rest.

“It was our turn to choose a color. But actually we had accumulated a lot of yellow material, so we had to use it. That’s why we had to wear yellow,” he said.

More on the International Space Station

However, some have speculated that denial might be an important quality for such a protest, provided the suppression of dissent within Russia.

Roscosmos press service said on its Telegram channel: “Sometimes yellow is just yellow.

“The new crew’s flight suits are made in the colors of the emblem of Bauman Moscow State Technical University, where all three cosmonauts graduated from… Seeing the Ukrainian flag everywhere and in everything is crazy.”

The men came to the ISS to join two Russian compatriots, four Americans and a German – but there are concerns the diplomatic fallout from the war in Ukraine could undermine the international cooperation needed to keep it in orbit and safety to hold the astronauts.

The future of the project is likely limited. NASA has released plans that the 444,615 kg structure could be deorbited in January 2031 crashed into a “spaceship graveyard” in the most remote place on earth.

But after US sanctions on Russia, the country’s space chief warned that Russia could pull out of the project entirely much sooner, though NASA scientists didn’t seem overly concerned.

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In this handout image provided by the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA, the International Space Station and docked Space Shuttle Endeavor orbit the Earth during Endeavor's final mission in space May 23, 2011
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NASA says there is “no tension” between the ISS team

NASA claims “no tension” in the space station

The space agency has told Sky News that Russia-US cooperation on the ISS will continue despite heated arguments and deteriorating relations on Earth.

“There’s really no tension in the team,” said Joel Montalbano, program manager for the ISS. said Sky News.

Last week a tongue in cheek video was posted on social media by the Russian government-controlled RIA Novosti, showing NASA astronaut Mark T. Vande Hei being abandoned on the space station by cosmonauts.

Concerns grew when the video was retweeted by the head of Russia’s Roscosmos space agency, Dmitry Rogozin.

It was just one of several stinging tweets the Russian space chief has directed at US and European colleagues since sanctions were imposed on Russia.

“I can tell you with certainty that Mark will be coming home on this Soyuz,” Mr. Montalbano said at a news conference. “There has been some debate about this, but I can tell you all will come.”

Speaking to Sky News earlier this month, Juliana Suess, a research analyst at RUSI, said: “The ISS is continuing to operate normally at the moment.

“As such, astronauts-in-training in the US have not been recalled and collaboration between engineers at respective mission control centers continues.

“A statement by Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos, on March 2 warned against ending cooperation, but only after 2024.

“A complete and sudden halt to collaboration on the ISS would be difficult, to say the least, since crew health and operations depend on technologies in both segments.

“Crucially, the Russian segment has the station’s reboost capability, while the Russian segment is in turn dependent on the American segment for its power supply.”



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