STAR CITY, Russia, September 6 (R-Sport) - The Olympic torch will go for its first-ever spacewalk November 9 after its launch schedule was confirmed by a Russian cosmonaut Friday.
As part of the torch relay for next year’s Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi, an unlit torch will be carried to the International Space Station on November 7 and venture into space two days later before heading back to Earth on a return flight.
“The flame won’t be burning in space, we’ll just carry the torch into space,” said Oleg Kotov, one of two cosmonauts who will be involved in the spacewalk.
The Winter Olympics are among the most watched events worldwide and even space will not be immune from broadcasts during Sochi 2014’s February 7-23 run, Kotov said.
“We’ve already ordered broadcasts of certain sports and we’ll be watching them on the station,” he said.
After the flame arrives in Russia from Greece in October, it begins its 65,000-kilometer relay, not including the space leg, in Moscow.
It then spirals out from the capital before heading east and looping around the Kamchatka Peninsula, down to Vladivostok and back across southern Siberia via Lake Baikal, the world’s largest freshwater lake.
On its way through more than 2,900 towns in Russia’s 83 regions, the torch will make its way back into European Russia, eventually winding down to the Black Sea resort of Sochi for the Opening Ceremony on February 7, 2014.
More than 14,000 torchbearers and 30,000 volunteers will be involved in the journey as the torch travels by foot, car, train, plane and troika, a traditional Russian sled.