All systems appear to be go for the first Olympic torch spacewalk.
The Sochi Olympic torch will embark on a mission to outer space from Kazakhstan on a Russian Soyuz rocket with Sochi 2014 designs on Wednesday night (Eastern Time). The spacecraft was set on a launch pad on Tuesday, according to RIA Novosti.
The Toshiba Vision screen in New York’s Times Square will also broadcast the stream live Wednesday night.
Russian cosmonauts at the International Space Station will take the torch, without a flame for safety reasons, into open space on Saturday, according to The Associated Press. Video and photos are expected to be taken of the spacewalk.
The Olympic torch flew into space before, in 1996 on the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, but it has never been taken outside a spacecraft, according to the AP.
The torch is expected to return to Earth on Monday, landing in Kazakhstan.
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — At the bottom of the Olympic aerials landing hill, where crashes are common and the term “slap back” is part of the everyday lingo, skiers spend almost as much time figuring out how to protect their heads as they do working on all those flips and spins.
“We learn how to fall,” U.S. jumper Jon Lillis said.
Elsewhere around the action-sports venue, that’s not so much the case.
Concussion dangers lurk everywhere — from the iced-over deck of the halfpipe, to the steeply pitched landings on the slopestyle course, to the careening twists and turns of the snowboard cross track, to the aerials course, where “slap back” is the term for when a skier’s head slaps backward against the snow. But at the Olympics, there are no hard-and-fast rules regarding who diagnoses head injuries, and no hard-and-fast protocol that athletes must clear to be allowed back on the slopes after a concussion.
“A bit concerning,” says neurologist Kevin Weber of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center. “Because you worry that athletes in other sports that may not be as popular as football are getting, I wouldn’t say ignored, but the concussions they’re getting are under-scrutinized.”