The Olympic Torch is headed to the International Space Station


On November 7, 2013 a Soyuz TMA-11M rocket will blast-off from Kazakhstan with Expedition 38 on a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.

Aboard the rocket is Commander Mikhail Tyurin of Roscosmos, Flight Engineer Rick Mastracchio of NASA, Flight Engineer Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the the Olympic torch.

For the first time in history, the torch will be taken on a spacewalk. On November 9, 2013, Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazanskiy, who are part of the space station’s current crew, will take the torch into space when they venture outside the station and plan to take photos and videos with the torch when they fly over Russia.

The crew and torch will return home with Expedition 37 to light the flame at the opening of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

In 1996 the Olympic torch has flown into space aboard the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis for the Atlanta Summer Olympics — but it was never taken outside into open space.