Source: KAREN TOWNSEND
Three Russian cosmonauts blasted off from Earth on Friday with their destination the International Space Station (ISS). When they emerged three hours later after docking, their flight suits caused quite a stir. The flight suits were in the colors of the Ukrainian flag.
The AP photo above is one of Putin and Roskosmos CEO Igor Komarov, and deputy premier Dmitry Rogozin during a visit to Roskosmos in Moscow. I mention that because the arrival of the cosmonauts at the ISS was live-streamed by the Russian space agency, Roscosmos. The sight of the cosmonauts in yellow and blue flight suits must have been awkward. The cosmonauts joked about it to lighten any tension back on earth.
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On a live stream set up by Russian space agency Roscosmos, the three cosmonauts — Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveyev and Sergey Korsakov — could be seen entering the space station one by one, floating in the zero-gravity environment, and hugging the seven astronauts who were already in orbit. Their bright yellow clothing also includes two patches of blue, white and red — the colors of the Russian flag — on the arm and chest.
Shortly after reaching the International Space Station, the trio spoke to callers on the phone, including with family members who wished them a successful mission. When asked by a caller about their clothing choice, Artemyev responded that each crew is allowed to pick its own colors from a stock supply of equipment.
“We actually had a lot of yellow material, so we had to use it,” Artemyev explained. “So that’s why we had to wear yellow.”
Ballsy move, gentlemen. I hope they are allowed to go home to their families upon their return to Russia and not held by the Mad Man of Moscow.
A couple of former American astronauts acknowledged the gesture in support of Ukrainians on Twitter. Terry Virts, a.k.a. Astro Terry, includes his support for Ukraine in his Twitter bio.