Russia Astronauts Enter Space Station in Familiar Yellow-and-Blue Flight Suits


When we think of blue and yellow in this day and age, it’s pretty hard to not think of Ukraine.

And maybe that’s what a group of Russian astronauts thought of too.

Just yesterday (18 March), three Russian astronauts, also known as cosmonauts, were launched to the International Space Station. After their Soyuz spacecraft docked at the space station, the trio proceeded to board the orbiting outpost.

Now, this just sounds like any other trip to the International Space Station, but there was one thing that caught the eye of many across the world.

The three astronauts were decked in flight suits that were yellow and blue in colour, bearing much similarity to the Ukraine flag.

Although the three cosmonauts did not comment on their choice of clothing, many have speculated that it might be an attempt at a political statement on their part.

Astronauts’ Outfits are Usually “Subdued”

For those of us who are familiar with the job scope and practices of astronauts, you’ll know that they tend to wear outfits that are more toned down in terms of colour when in orbit.

However, Russian astronauts have been observed to go against this norm as of late, with other recent cases including Russian actress Ms Yulia Peresild arriving at the station in a bold red coverall just last November.

Additionally, Mr Eric Berger, who works as a space reporter of the Ars Technica website, added on Twitter that “Soyuz flight suits are selected and packed a few months before the mission launch. So it is possible this is a coincidence. But it seems like a very, very big coincidence if so.”

He also mentioned that there might have been substitutes that were loaded onto the spacecraft in a last-minute fashion.

“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,” he tweeted.

In his tweet, he referenced a tweet from space exploration enthusiast Ms Katya Pavlushchenko, who posted: “They were asked about the colour of the suits, and Oleg answered, there was too much yellow fabric accumulated in the warehouse. Except that, just usual greetings and best wishes.”

Just FYI, Oleg is a Russian cosmonaut.

Just Paying Homage to Their University?

While many were quick to applaud the Russian cosmonauts for their choice of clothes, Dr Jonathan McDowell, a scientist at the Harvard Centre for Astrophysics, offered a different take on the issue.

All three astronauts who were wearing yellow and blue (Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov) attended Bauman Moscow State Technical University.


And the school’s official colours are, well, yellow and blue.

However, despite Dr McDowell’s opinion, Mr Berger came forth to suggest that the colours that the cosmonauts were wearing were much more similar to the colours of the Ukrainian flag.

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How the War Has Affected Space Programmes

Ever since Russia commenced its attacks on Ukraine, Russia’s space programme has been affected in a rather detrimental manner.

A Russian rocket was supposed to be used in a mission to Mars, but the European Space Agency cancelled the trip on Thursday (17 March).

Additionally, British satellite company OneWeb also called off the launches of its internet satellites which were supposed to travel on Russia’s Soyuz rockets. OneWeb is partially owned by the British government.


In response to the actions by other countries, the head of Russia’s space agency, Mr Dmitry Rogozin, has posted various aggravating tweets on Twitter.

Amongst other tweets, Mr Rogozin, the leader of Roscomos, retweeted a parody video that depicted Russia abandoning Mr Mark Vande Hei.

Mr Vande Hei is an American NASA astronaut who is supposed to return to Earth in a Russian Soyuz later this month. He also recently broke the record for the most consecutive days in space by an American.

Mr Rogozin also got into a public argument with retired astronaut Mr Scott Kelly. Mr Kelly was the record holder for the most consecutive days in space by an American until Mr Vande Hei broke his record.

On the other hand, NASA has not publicly addressed Mr Rogozin’s words. NASA also emphasised that “operations are continuing as usual” with Russian counterparts, and that Mr Vande Hei is still expected to return to Earth according to their previous plans.

Apart from that, another pair of crews are set to reach the International Space Station through SpaceX’s Crew Dragon in the upcoming month. One group consists of a private crew of tourists travelling with Axiom, while the other group comprises a mix of astronauts from NASA and ESA.


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Featured Image: YouTube (Роскосмос ТВ)