Sochi Olympic Torch to go for Spacewalk at International Space Station
The Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) will take the Sochi 2014 Olympic torch to the International Space Station (ISS) and out into spacewalk. This is expected to be the first time that the Olympic torch will be carried in open space.
The Olympic Torch will travel to the ISS on the Soyuz TMA-11M manned spaceship in the beginning of November 2013. Once in space, Russian cosmonauts Sergei Ryazansky and Oleg Kotov will take the Olympic torch on a spacewalk. The cosmonauts have already started their training at the Yu. A. Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Centre. For safety reasons, it is not planned to light the torch.
The honorable mission of passing the torch to the spaceship crew is the responsibility of its captain, Mikhail Tyurin. At the signing ceremony, Captain Tyurin received the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch from the hands of Vladimir Popovkin.
The «Sochi 2014» Olympic Torch will return to Earth with cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin who is currently based on the ISS. While based on the ISS in 2007, he and his colleague Oleg Kotov supported the Olympic bid presentation that was made in Guatemala following which Sochi was elected as the host city of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
The President of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko, noted:
“Nobody has done this before. The spacewalk by two Russian cosmonauts with the Sochi 2014 Olympic torch will be an historic moment in the history of the Olympic Torch Relay. I want to thank the Federal Space Agency for its support which will enable us to take the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay to the final frontier”.
The head of Roscosmos, Vladimir Popovkin, said:
“Conducting a spacewalk with the Olympic torch is an unprecedented event in the history of the Olympic movement and the world of Astronautics. Its in-orbit delivery and the spacewalk by Russian cosmonauts will be a bright new page in space history. Let me thank the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee for the selection of the Federal Space Agency as an Honorary Partner of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay”.