Olympic torch takes first-ever spacewalk

2013-11-09 22:31

(AFP)

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Olympic torch takes a trip to space

2013-11-08 08:55

Watch as three astronauts arrive at the International Space Station bearing the Olympic Torch.WATCH

Moscow - An Olympic torch took a first-ever spacewalk Saturday, carefully held by two Russian cosmonauts outside the International Space Station as it orbited some 418km above Earth.

Video streamed by NASA showed Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazanskiy carrying the unlit torch of the Sochi games, which bobbed weightlessly at the end of a tether in a darkness dotted by stars.

The two gingerly manoeuvred to take photos of the torch against the background of the planet, the orb's edge glowing with sunrise.

They then returned it to the space station before continuing with other tasks on a spacewalk that was to last about six hours, including attaching a footrest and a camera platform to the exterior of the orbiting laboratory.

The torch was launched into space from the Russian-operated Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday morning. It will return to Earth with a three-man crew on Monday.

The torch will not burn aboard the space outpost because lighting it would consume precious oxygen and pose a threat to the crew.

The Olympic torch was taken aboard the US space shuttle Atlantis in 1996 for the Atlanta Summer Olympics, but this is the first it time it has been taken outside a spacecraft.

The Sochi Olympic flame started its relay on 7 October, four months ahead of the Winter Games, and it is to cover some 65 000km. Most of the time the flame will be safely encased in a lantern.

On Saturday, the flame was somewhere nearly as cold and remote as the torch's temporary residence in outer space - the Siberian city of Yakutsk.

Read more on:    nasa  |  russia  |  space

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