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Olympic Torch to Spend Some Time in Space

In this image made from video provided by NASA, cosmonaut Fyodor Yurchikhin, International Space Station commander, holds the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics torch, Nov. 7, 2013.
The Olympic torch is taking a slight detour on its trip from Greece to Sochi, Russia, for the 2014 Winter Games. This Saturday, it will spend some time in space. Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy will carry the torch outside the International Space Station as they begin a six-hour maintenance mission.

The torch can not be lit in the vacuum of space. And one of the cosmonauts said it is not a good idea to ignite it inside the space station.

"It is not planned to (ignite) anything on board the station, including (the) Olympic torch. But we will follow all the symbolic requirements and procedures working with it," one of the cosmonauts said.

The torch will continue its journey to Sochi on November 10, as it heads back for a landing in Kazakhstan along with three returning crew members.

The Olympic Torch has been to space twice before, in 1996, before the Atlanta Games, and 2000 ahead of Sydney, but it has never been taken on a spacewalk.