Now that the Olympic flame has reached the North Pole, details are emerging for another unprecedented mission of the torch relay.
A torch, sans flame, will launch into outer space on Nov. 6 (Nov. 7 local time) and go to the International Space Station for a spacewalk.
Six hours after lifting off from Baikonur, the torch will be carried on board the space station by the Soyuz TMA-11M crew: Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, NASA astronaut Richard Mastracchio and Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata. It will be only the third Olympic torch in history to fly in space and the second to enter the orbiting complex.
Two days later, it will go where no Olympic torch has gone before.
That’s when the torch will go on a spacewalk outside the International Space Station. Live video and photographs are expected to document the event.
The torch will return to Earth on Nov. 11 as the longest relay in Olympic Winter Games history continues through Russia up to the Opening Ceremony on Feb. 7.