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. Cal favored to make history at Collegiate Rugby Championship

    May 28, 2015, 12:15 PM EDT

    AP AP

    The competition will be live on NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra on Saturday and Sunday.

  2. Kerri Walsh Jennings, April Ross withdraw from Moscow Grand Slam

    May 28, 2015, 9:16 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Ross spoke with FIVB about the pair’s prospects for the near future.

  3. Prefontaine Classic preview, schedule, broadcast info

    May 27, 2015, 4:01 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Several of the top U.S. contenders for World Championships medals will be in action.

  4. Mary Cain leaves Oregon, returns home to New York

    May 27, 2015, 3:20 PM EDT

    Mary Cain Getty Images

    Cain must be in top shape one month from now for the biggest domestic meet of the season.

  5. Kerri Walsh Jennings injures shoulder, forfeits match

    May 27, 2015, 11:51 AM EDT

    FUZHOU, CHINA - APRIL 25:  Kerri Walsh of USA reacts during the match against Taliqua Clancy and Louise Bawden of Australia during the Fuzhou Open 2015 on April 25, 2015 in Fuzhou, China.  (Photo by Kevin Lee/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Walsh Jennings has a history of shoulder problems.

  6. Katie Uhlaender, skeleton World champion, becomes track cyclist

    May 27, 2015, 8:59 AM EDT

    Katie Uhlaender Getty Images

    Uhlaender isn’t finished with her sliding career, though.

  7. Missy Franklin returns to Colorado, coach Todd Schmitz

    May 26, 2015, 8:13 AM EDT

    Missy Franklin Getty Images

    She may change coaches after the World Championships.

  8. James Magnussen out of World Swimming Championships

    May 23, 2015, 7:40 PM EDT

    James Magnussen Getty Images

    Nathan Adrian’s biggest rival in the 100m freestyle could still be an Australian.

  9. Rulon Gardner on returning to wrestling training, getting his gold medal back

    May 22, 2015, 3:44 PM EDT

    Rulon Gardner Getty Images

    The 2000 Olympic champion continues to struggle with weight loss.

  10. Rome mayor wants 2024 Olympic medal ceremonies in Colosseum

    May 22, 2015, 9:57 AM EDT

    Rome Colosseum Getty Images

    “We want to rebuild the arena of the Colosseum so that the athletes can be lifted in like the gladiators in the Roman times.”

  11. Olympians recall David Letterman appearances

    May 21, 2015, 11:49 AM EDT

    David Letterman, Tara Lipinski

    Skaters, skiers, gymnasts, track and field athletes and more.

  12. Russian Olympic boss sets Rio 2016 medal standings target

    May 21, 2015, 9:18 AM EDT

    Russia Getty Images

    Russia ceded its place as top challenger to the U.S. in recent Olympics.

  13. First set of Olympic rings unveiled in Rio de Janeiro

    May 20, 2015, 8:10 PM EDT

    Rio Olympic rings Getty Images

    They were a gift from a previous Olympic host city.

  14. Missy Franklin, more Olympians lead most marketable athletes list

    May 20, 2015, 3:07 PM EDT

    Missy Franklin Getty Images

    Usain Bolt dropped on the list and is no longer the top track and field athlete.

  15. German amputee keeps rivaling top long jumpers, eyes Olympics

    May 20, 2015, 1:38 PM EDT

    Markus Rehm Getty Images

    Markus Rehm jumped another personal best on Saturday, moving up the list of top active jumpers.

  16. David Letterman and the Olympics

    May 20, 2015, 1:09 PM EDT

    David Letterman Getty Images

    Letterman had a special correspondent at the 1994 and 1998 Winter Olympics.

  17. Caster Semenya: I can’t stop running because of gender controversy

    May 20, 2015, 12:53 PM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    The Olympic silver medalist has been off the elite competition radar for nearly two years.