The ISS warmly welcomes three Russian astronauts, despite Ukraine.

Space – Three Russian astronauts have arrived safely on Friday, March 18, on the Soyuz rocket of the International Space Station (ISS). The three travelers were warmly welcomed by the station residents amid extreme tensions between Russia and the West associated with the war in Ukraine.

The crew, led by experienced astronaut Oleg Artemyev with Denis Matveev and Sergey Korsakov, took off for a three-hour flight to the ISS at 4:55 pm (Paris time). According to images broadcast by NASA, the astronauts were greeted by a team of two Russians, four Americans, and one German.

As soon as the airlock opened, a friendly hug, a big smile, and a warm handshake were exchanged when they arrived at the scene.

“Ukrainian yellow” Russian astronaut

As the professional media Space.com points out, the costumes of these three Russian astronauts surprised many observers from the ground because they were the colors of the Ukrainian flag, yellow and blue. ..

The media cites space exploration enthusiasts following the opening ceremony of the hatch, which was broadcast live on the Internet by the Russian Federation space agency Roscosmos. According to her, Artemyev, commander of Soyuz, was asked about the choice of suit color and replied that it was simply the result of a surplus of yellow cloth in the warehouse.

“When I asked about the color of the costume, Oleg replied that there was too much yellow cloth in the warehouse. Other than that, I wish you the usual greetings and happiness.”

Many Internet users, with or without assistance, congratulated the three astronauts on their courage and opposition to the war. “A new astronaut crew has docked at the International Space Station, dressed in yellow and blue. For example, astronaut Chris Hadfield tweeted.

“Three Russian astronauts have just flown from Kazakhstan on a Russian rocket to the International Space Station. The color palette when the spacecraft arrives at the station is very impressive,” said space journalist Eric. Burger writes.

“Three Russian astronauts just docked to the ISS arrive in Ukrainian yellow!” Former NASA astronaut Scott Kelly has completed a year’s mission at the space station.

The collapse of the ISS for sanctions against Russia?

Until recently, space cooperation between Russia and the Western nations was one of the few areas that did not suffer much from the sanctions proclamation against Moscow after the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

Officials this weekend argued that recent western sanctions introduced against Moscow could cause the ISS to collapse. According to him, the operation of Russian vessels supplying the ISS will be interrupted by sanctions, affecting the Russian segment of the station. As a result, he warned that a 500-ton ISS could “ditch” or “land.”

Russian ship thrusters moored at the station are used to correct the orbit of space structures. A procedure performed 10 times a year to keep it at the correct altitude or to avoid space debris on its path.

Only Americans do not have this capability, NASA station program director Joel Montalbano confirmed on Monday. “The space station was designed on the principle of interdependence (…) It is not a process in which one group can be separated from the other.”

“For now, there are no signs that our Russian partners want to do something else, so we plan to continue our business as we do today,” he said.

Spatial tension

Some tensions have already emerged, especially after Russian President Vladimir Putin appointed nationalist Dmitry Rogozin as head of the Russian space agency Roscosmos in 2018. The latter regularly shows his support for what Russia calls “special military operations” in Ukraine.

“Our thing! For the first time in years, it’s all Russian crew,” he said on Twitter hours before the launch.

The latest issue of space cooperation, the European Space Agency (ESA), suspended the ExoMars missions in Russia and Europe on Thursday, looking for alternatives to launch four other missions for the attack in Ukraine. Announced that there is. Dmitry Rogozin criticized “a very bitter event” and said Russia could carry out this mission on its own “within a few years.”

See also HuffPost: How the War in Ukraine Threatens the 2022 Space Project