In this AP/WISN news item Air leak at International Space Station temporarily plugged by a thumb they show a file photo of German astronaut Alexander Gerst at the Baikonur cosmodrome, making what looks like a gesture with his two hands, possibly forming the letter "K".

Question: What does it mean? Are there many hand signals used on the ISS? Is there a standard reference for such?

Member of the International Space Station (ISS) expedition 56/57, German astronaut Alexander Gerst gestures as his space suit is tested in the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome on June 6, 2018. SOURCE: Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP/Getty Images

German astronaut Alexander Gerst

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    $\begingroup$ From another angle it might look like an A or triangle. Maybe, he's just in the middle of gesticulating $\endgroup$ – Dragongeek Sep 3 '18 at 0:34
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    $\begingroup$ @Dragongeek I'm thinking "K" for OK perhaps"? $\endgroup$ – uhoh Sep 3 '18 at 1:17
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    $\begingroup$ Well I can tell you what it's not: A common German gesture or American one. I don't think it's standard sign language either and all other photos I can find of Gerst gesturing are easy to identify and none are similar to this. Maybe it's K for Kosmonaut? $\endgroup$ – Dragongeek Sep 3 '18 at 22:26
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    $\begingroup$ I am unaware of any ISS specific sign language. I can think of some gestures that could be used, for example, when someone takes the last piece of fresh fruit from a shipment. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Mar 11 '19 at 12:21
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    $\begingroup$ There would be significant downsides to using two hands for any common signal gesture, so unless he happens to be signing, I suspect he's illustrating something. It looks to me like he's demonstrating a particular spatial attitude with his left hand with respect to two orthonormal reference axes indicated with his right hand, e.g., "so if this is our up and left, we're oriented like this..." $\endgroup$ – Russell Borogove Feb 22 at 5:26

K might be short for Klaar ("Clear" in German) but:

It's the wrong way round from his perspective;

It's unlikely that the crew he is working with knows German - they are more likely to communicate in English than in Russian, but both are more likely than his mother-tongue.

If we had this as a video clip, I believe we would see him make an O shape immediatly beforehand.

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    $\begingroup$ Is this answer based on anything other than speculation? $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Mar 11 '19 at 17:04
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    $\begingroup$ "Clear" in German is "klar", but "OK" is much more commonly used in such a situation. But without a video of the context and the full gesture, this answer is just speculation. $\endgroup$ – ahemmetter May 20 '19 at 11:35
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    $\begingroup$ Being the wrong way round from his perspective merely means he's signing to someone else. I've certainly worked in places where 'OK' was indicated by 'K' in chats etc. $\endgroup$ – tfb Oct 25 '20 at 13:10

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