Skip to content

Olympic torch launches into space (video, photos)

Nov 6, 2013, 11:15 PM EDT

olympic-liftoff

We have liftoff.

An Olympic torch blasted into space aboard a Russian rocket in a special part of the Sochi torch relay from Kazakhstan at 11:14 ET on Wednesday night.

NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio, Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata took the torch aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket with Sochi 2014 designs.

An Olympic torch has gone into space at least once before. A ceremonial torch went on the space shuttle Atlantis to the International Space Station before the 2000 Olympics, but this will be the first time it will go into open space on a spacewalk, scheduled for Saturday.

Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy will take the torch as part of a six-hour spacewalk beginning at 9:30 a.m. ET, according to Space.com. It will be tethered to make sure it doesn’t fly away.

The torch will not be lit on the expedition for safety reasons. Photos and video are expected to be made available after the spacewalk.

“We’d like to showcase our Olympic torch in space,” Kotov said, according to Engineering & Technology magazine. “We will try to do it in a beautiful manner. Millions of people will see it live on TV, and they will see the station and how we work.”

UPDATE: The torch reached the International Space Station on Thursday morning.

The torch is expected to return to Earth at 9:50 p.m. ET on Sunday, landing in Kazakhstan.

The crew that will stay at the International Space Station for six months will be able to watch the Olympics (on a delay), according to Interfax.

One of the three Sochi Olympic mascots — a polar bear — was also aboard the rocket:

source:

Screencap via Space.com

Here are photos from before the launch:

source: AP

AP

source: AP

AP

source: AP

AP

source: AP

AP

source: AP

AP

Journalist says torch flame has gone out at least 44 times

Latest Posts
  1. The jump for the ages: Mike Powell, Bob Beamon and a revered world record

    Oct 20, 2014, 2:52 PM EDT

    Mike Powell Getty Images

    A look back at the greatest head-to-head duel in track and field history.

  2. Bill Demong to run New York City Marathon

    Oct 20, 2014, 1:18 PM EDT

    Bill Demong Getty Images

    Olympic champion hasn’t retired from Nordic combined, either.

  3. Bangalore half marathon leaders get lost, forced to take train

    Oct 20, 2014, 11:06 AM EDT

    Bangalore Marathon Getty Images

    “Morning joggers helped us and also guided us to the nearest metro station.”

  4. Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale have Olympic 100m final speed, Liverpool manager says

    Oct 20, 2014, 10:54 AM EDT

    Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale Getty Images

    How fast would they have to traverse the Bernabeu to have Olympic 100m final speed?

  5. Lindsey Vonn still struggles with depression

    Oct 20, 2014, 9:45 AM EDT

    Lindsey Vonn Getty Images

    Olympic downhill champion told German magazine she has good days and bad days.

  6. Apolo Ohno on Ironman: A milestone among my 8 Olympic medals

    Oct 20, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    Apolo Ohno AP

    Ohno said he went into “full warrior mode” in Hawaii.

  7. Beijing Marathon run through smog (video, photos)

    Oct 20, 2014, 8:54 AM EDT

    ATHLETICS-CHN-MARATHON-BEIJING Getty Images

    U.S. Embassy scale had air pollution level at “hazardous.”

  8. IOC wants ‘full explanation’ from Russian about ‘Williams brothers’ comments

    Oct 20, 2014, 8:37 AM EDT

    Shamil Tarpischev Getty Images

    Shamil Tarpischev, Russian tennis president, is also a longtime IOC member.

  9. Aksel Lund Svindal injured playing soccer, likely out most of season

    Oct 19, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

    Aksel Lund Svindal Getty Images

    How top Americans, Austrian going for history will be affected this World Cup season.

  10. Shaun White brings Air & Style event to Rose Bowl

    Oct 17, 2014, 2:50 PM EDT

    Shaun White Getty Images

    Two-time Olympic halfpipe champion won’t be competing, though.

  11. Michelle Kwan, Sarah Hughes opine on skating to lyrics

    Oct 17, 2014, 10:54 AM EDT

    Michelle Kwan Getty Images

    Top U.S. skaters are incorporating new rule into their programs this season.

  12. Oscar Pistorius’ sentence expected Tuesday

    Oct 17, 2014, 9:41 AM EDT

    Oscar Pistorius Getty Images

    Runner faces up to 15 years in prison.

  13. Justin Gatlin not among IAAF Athlete of the Year award finalists

    Oct 17, 2014, 6:48 AM EDT

    Justin Gatlin Getty Images

    Gatlin’s inclusion on previous 10-man nomination list drew criticism.

  14. Noelle Pikus-Pace: I already miss skeleton, but happily retired

    Oct 16, 2014, 4:34 PM EDT

    Noelle Pikus-Pace Getty Images

    Olympic silver medalist has an interesting post-skeleton bucket list.

  15. Simone Biles still buzzing after World Championships whirlwind

    Oct 16, 2014, 11:24 AM EDT

    Simone Biles Getty Images

    Biles recalls bee tale, talks of specific vault upgrade, uneven bars hatred.

  16. J.R. Celski not on U.S. short track team for World Cups

    Oct 16, 2014, 7:45 AM EDT

    J.R. Celski Getty Images

    Three-time Olympic medalist previously said he was taking a break.

  17. Simone Biles returns home to pack of gymnasts (video)

    Oct 15, 2014, 2:44 PM EDT

    Simone Biles

    Biles talks about the bee and what’s next.

  18. Ryan Lochte makes teen swimmer’s wish come true

    Oct 15, 2014, 12:10 PM EDT

    Ryan Lochte Getty Images

    Erik Nieman, 15, flew from Arkansas to Charlotte for a special training session.

  19. Gracie Gold calls audible, adds lyrics for post-Olympic season

    Oct 15, 2014, 10:12 AM EDT

    Gracie Gold Getty Images

    U.S. champion makes her Grand Prix season debut at Skate America next week.

Featured video

Yogging a hit at Youth Olympic Games