According to Roskosmos, this will by no means be a gesture of support for Ukraine, but a reference to the university.
This image went around the world; the last three Russian cosmonauts to join the ISS did so in yellow and blue suits. A strong gesture that in the current context has clearly been interpreted as a gesture of support for Ukraine, which Russia is trying to invade. But according to Roskosmos, the national space agency that is directly dependent on the Kremlin, this will not happen.
The BBC explains that the agency was quick to refute this position, citing “funny invention of foreign media“. “Sometimes yellow is just yellow” The agency said in a Telegram message spotted by Space.com. “The design of this uniform was determined long before the current events.”
Dmitry Rogozin, the agency’s sulphurous director, then elaborated that this necessarily highly evocative color at this point actually matches those of the Bauman State Technical University in Moscow, where the three cosmonauts are cutting.. “Under no circumstances are we going to forbid our cosmonauts, graduates of Bauman University, from wearing the colors of the emblem of their alma mater”, says the director. In any case, it is true that combinations with comparable colors have already been used in the past, as evidenced by this image from 2014.
Inevitably, this question was also asked to the astronauts when they arrived on board, during the press conference. And they were much more evasive and less categorical than Rogozin; they did not even mention the Bauman University, but they did not verbally declare their support for Ukraine either.
Oleg Artemiev, one of the three cosmonauts mentioned, preferred to get in touch. “It’s our turn to choose a colorhe began in a playful tone.To tell the truth, we had a lot of yellow fabric, so we had to use it wisely. ! Whether or not it is a political message, the mystery will thus remain intact.
Color speaks, but collaboration continues
But there is more good news from history: cooperation around the ISS continues in good spirits. Colleagues welcomed the Russian cosmonauts with open arms. And even agencies add water to wine. At the moment, operations on board the station continue as planned. And this is despite the frank, if not openly hostile statements of Rogozin, who openly threatened to allow the ISS to crash.
This is great news for American astronaut Mark Vande Hey. He is due to return from the ISS on March 30, accompanied by two Russian colleagues; he would also return aboard a Russian car, and some observers expected a diplomatic outcry on the occasion. But Roscosmos has already said it will return it as planned and will not block its return to the US.
ISS, the leading diplomatic channel
Therefore, the ISS now plays a vital role even more than its usual scientific mission. For many years it has been a neutral zone, an unbreakable ivory tower in international relations; it plays a key role as a symbolic pretext, a common goal for maintaining cooperation.
Therefore, in the current conditions, this is even more important; at the moment, this is one of the most recent points on which the Russians and Americans continue to actively cooperate. And in the current conditions, when relations are generally very tense, it is encouraging to see that the Russian government does not object in principle to any decision on cooperation.
Is this enough to hope for a negotiated way out of the crisis? It’s hard to say in its current form, especially after Vladimir Putin’s last speech. But until then, the ISS will no doubt continue to provide the privileged diplomatic conduit that the world so desperately needs at this time.