Olympic torch blasts into space ahead of Games

2013-11-07 09:33
Russia's Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft carrying an international crew blasts off from the Kazakh Baikonur cosmodrome. (Kirill Kudryavtsev, AFP)

Russia's Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft carrying an international crew blasts off from the Kazakh Baikonur cosmodrome. (Kirill Kudryavtsev, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Moscow - A rocket carrying the Olympic flame successfully blasted off on Thursday from Earth ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Games.

Nasa Live TV showed the rocket, emblazoned with the pale blue Sochi 2014 logo, launching from the Russian-operated Baikonur cosmodrome on a clear morning in Kazakhstan.

The torch will make its way to the International Space Station before being taken into space itself - making it the Olympic flame's first spacewalk in history.

Russia's Mikhail Tyurin, Nasa's Rick Mastracchio and Koichi Wakata of Japan beamed at the crowd as they carried the lit torch aboard the Soyuz rocket.

For safety reasons, the torch will not burn when it's onboard the space outpost. Lighting it would consume precious oxygen and pose a threat to the crew. The crew will carry the unlit torch around the station's numerous modules before taking it out on a spacewalk.

Longest relay

The Olympic torch has flown into space once before - in 1996 aboard the US space shuttle Atlantis for the Atlanta Summer Olympics - but will be taken outside the spacecraft for the first time in history.

"It's a great pleasure and responsibility getting to work with this symbol of peace," Tyurin told journalists on Wednesday ahead of the launch.

The torch will remain in space for five days. Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazanskiy, who are currently manning the ISS, will take the flame for a spacewalk on Saturday, before it is returned to earth by three astronauts on Monday.

The four-month Sochi torch relay, which started in Moscow on 7 October, is the longest in the history of the Olympics. For most of the 65 000km route, the flame will travel by plane, train, car and even reindeer sleigh, but 14 000 torch bearers are taking part in the relay that stops at more than 130 cities and towns.

Last month, the Olympic flame travelled to the North Pole on a Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker. Later this month it will sink to the bottom of the world's deepest lake, Lake Baikal, and in February it will reach the peak of Mount Elbrus, at 5 642m the highest mountain in Russia and Europe.

The torch will be used to light the Olympic flame at Sochi's stadium on 7 February, marking the start of the 2014 Winter Games that run until 23 February.
Read more on:    space

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.