On 7 November, the ‘Soyuz TMA-11M’ spacecraft, which took off from the Baikonur cosmodrome carrying the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch and crew members Koichi Wakata (Japan), Richard Mastracchio (USA) and commander Mikhail Tyurin (Russia), successfully docked at the International Space Station (ISS).
Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazansky, who had been on the International Space Station for over a month already, welcomed the Soyuz team on board the ISS, where all the astronauts present took part in relaying the unlit Olympic Torch throughout the entire station.
The pinnacle of the event came when Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazan ventured out into space holding the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch. After passing it to each other, they completed a symbolic stage of the relay.
The Olympic Torch spent more than an hour in outer space.
The Torch was not lit in orbit, as combustion is impossible in outer space, while safety regulations strictly prohibit open flames on board the space station.
The Olympic Torch will return to earth in the hands of cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, when he and his crew land in the ‘Soyuz TMA-09M’ spacecraft on Monday. They will then immediately hand the Torch to representatives of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee upon exiting the capsule.
More information on the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay can be found at http://torchrelay.sochi2014.com/en/