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article imageOlympic torch taken on historic spacewalk

By Layne Weiss     Nov 9, 2013 in Science
Moscow - Two Russian cosmonauts have taken the torch for the Sochi Winter Olympics on a spacewalk as part of the Olympic torch relay. This is the first time any Olympic torch has been on a spacewalk.
Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazansky took turns posing for pictures Saturday as they proudly waved the torch outside the International Space Station, 261 miles above Earth, BBC News reports.
The blackness of outer space and the blue and white orb of Earth served as backdrops, AlJazeera reports.
"That's a beautiful view," Ryazansky said.
The torch was not lit due to lack of oxygen and safety concerns for the crew.
It was taken up to the space station Thursday on a Russian Soyuz rocket.
The rocket launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan crewed by the three-man team, Mikhail Tyurin of Russia, Rick Mastracchio of the United States, and Japan's Koichi Wakata.
The crew gave the torch to Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazansky who were already on the orbiting station, BBC News reports.
Pictures and videos were taken using helmet cameras. The torch was then returned to the space station, so the men could move onto other tasks on the spacewalk, The Associated Press reports.
The spacewalk is a showcase for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, the first Olympics Russia will host since the Soviet Era, AlJazeera reports.
The torch will be returned to Earth Monday by Russian cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, US astronaut Karen Nyberg and Italian Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency, and given to Sochi officials. It will be used to light the Olympic flame when the games begin on February 7.
Torches were aboard US space shuttle voyages before both the 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta and the 2000 games in Sydney, DW reports. This is the first time, however, that the torch has been taken outside a spacecraft.
More about Sochi Wimter Olympics, Olympic torch, Spacewalk, Cosmonauts, NASA
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