Russia’s space agency Roscosmos has dismissed reports that three of its cosmonauts wore yellow and blue flight suits on the International Space Station in support of Ukraine.
The cosmonauts — Oleg Artemyev, Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov — wore the brightly colored flight suits, which were yellow with blue patches similar to the colors of the Ukrainian flag, as they boarded the space station on Friday (March 18). With Russia currently in the midst of an brutal war on Ukraine, the cosmonauts’ choice of clothing raised questions among the media (including here on Space.com) on whether they were showing support for the Ukrainian people.
On Saturday, Roscosmos officials denied there was any connection to Ukraine and the flight suits, calling the media reports “a funny invention of foreign bloggers and media,” in a Telegram post translated by Google.
“Sometimes yellow is just yellow,” Roscosmos wrote, adding that the flight suits are in the colors of Bauman Moscow State Technical University, where all three cosmonauts studied. “The design of the uniform was agreed upon long before current events.”
Cosmonauts’ flight suits are sewn together by the Russian Academy of Sciences about six months before launch, according to a UPI news report. Artemyev, Roscosmos shared in a second Telegram post, previously wore a yellow and blue flight suit during a 2014 mission to the International Space Station.
Dmitry Rogozin, head of Roscosmos, also scoffed at the media’s connection to Ukraine, writing on Twitter that “under no circumstances will we force cosmonaut graduates of Bauman University not to wear the colors of the coat of arms of their alma mater.”
Artemyev, Matveev and Korsakov launched to the space station on Friday aboard a Russian Soyuz MS-21 spacecraft that lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The trio docked at the space station a few hours later to begin a six-month mission on the orbiting lab.
The Soyuz cosmonauts joined seven other crewmembers already on the station, a crew that includes four American astronauts, two other Russian cosmonauts and one European astronaut representing Germany.