Russian astronauts to take Olympic torch on space walk
Russian astronauts will take an unlit Olympic torch on a space walk ahead of the country’s hosting of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, the deputy head of the Russian space agency said on Sunday.
“It will not be a copy but exactly the same as the torch at the Olympics,” deputy head of Russia’s space agency Roscosmos, Vitaly Davydov, told the Interfax news agency.
He said he believed the space walk ceremony “had already been confirmed” with the country’s Olympic committee, but gave no details about the event.
The torch will not be lit at any point because this would not be permitted for transportation to the ISS, he added.
A space industry source told Interfax that the schedule of spaceships ferrying astronauts to the ISS would be altered to allow for the torch ceremony, part of a relay taking in Lake Baikal and Russia’s highest peak, Mount Elbrus.
Russian astronauts Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazansky are expected to perform the space walk with the torch in November with the torch set to return to Earth on a manned flight landing on November 12, the source said.
The Russian space agency in March said the space walk was planned for August this year.