Exactly one month since it began its journey across Russia, the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch is on its way into space, with a Soyuz TMA-11M containing the flame launched this morning from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.
On arrival at the International Space Station, the commander of the ship, cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, will pass the Sochi 2014 Torch to Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazansky, who will take the torch on a spacewalk on 9 November.
The launch of the Soyuz-TMA-11M took place at 08:14 with the aid of the Soyuz-FG rocket carrier. All crew members wore badges featuring images of the Olympic Torch and the Sochi 2014 logo.
Koichi Wakata (Japan) and Richard Mastracchio (USA), under the leadership of commander Mikhail Tyurin (Russia) will accompany the Olympic Torch on its voyage. This will not be the first time that Mikhail Tyurin has carried the Torch. On 24 June he received it when the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee presented the torch to the Roscosmos Federal Space Agency. And on 10 October he ran with the Olympic flame in his home town of Kolomna.
After docking with the ISS, Mikhail Tyurin will give the Olympic Torch to cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazansky, who have already been in low Earth orbit for more than a month. They will hold a stage of the relay on board the ISS and all the astronauts will carry the Olympic Torch, unlit, to all parts of the space station.
Two days later, on 9 November, the cosmonauts will take the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch on a spacewalk. Sergey Ryazansky will carry cameras and video equipment while Oleg Kotov will follow him with the Torch. The cosmonauts will spend four hours in outer space. The Olympic space expedition will be broadcast live on television.
The Olympic torch will return to earth on 11 November and will be carried by cosmonaut Fedor Yurchikhin who is currently on the ISS.
Find out more about the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay Presenting Partners at http://torchrelay.sochi2014.com/en/partners
More information on the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay can be found at http://torchrelay.sochi2014.com/en/