An Olympic torch went on a spacewalk for the first time on Saturday morning.
Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy took the torch outside the International Space Station just before 10 a.m. ET, about 261 miles above Earth.
“OK, shall we start taking this symbol of partnership and friendship and good competition into space?” one of the cosmonauts said, according to a NASA stream translator.
They handed off the red and silver aluminum torch, which was tethered, from one to the other at 10:14.
A commentator on the NASA stream said the International Space Station was orbiting above the northern U.S. and southern Canada and made it to space above Africa by the time the torch spacewalk finished around 10:30.
The torch portion was part of a spacewalk that began at 9:34 a.m. and was scheduled to last about six hours. The torch was unlit for safety reasons.
An Olympic torch has reportedly gone to space before — prior to the 1996 and 2000 Olympics — but this marked its first spacewalk.
Here are images from Saturday morning:
The torch is expected to return to Earth at 9:50 p.m. ET on Sunday, landing in Kazakhstan.
The crew that will stay at the International Space Station for six months will be able to watch the Olympics (on a delay), according to Interfax.
Four Russians who won gold medals at the Sochi Olympics were on steroids at the time, a whistleblower who previously provided evidence of Russian track and field doping said, according to CBSNews.com.
The report doesn’t name the athletes or their sports. Nor does it say any of the athletes failed drug tests.
A “60 Minutes” piece on Russian doping will air Sunday on CBS between 7 and 8 p.m. ET. An excerpt will air on CBS Evening News on Friday between 6:30 and 7 ET.
The whistleblower is Vitaly Stepanov, a former Russian anti-doping official who, along with wife and former Russian 800m runner Yulia Stepanova, provided a 2014 German TV documentary undercover footage and evidence of Russian track and field doping.
Russia’s track and field federation was banned from competition in November. The suspension could last through the Rio Olympics.
The “60 Minutes” report cites Stepanov learning of Russian cheating at the Sochi Olympics from Grigory Rodchenkov, former director of a Moscow drug-testing lab that was stripped of its accreditation by the World Anti-Doping Agency in April.
In a November WADA independent commission report, Rodchenkov was alleged to have requested and accepted money to conceal positive drug tests. He immediately resigned.