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Torch & go! Olympic spacecraft preparing for launch (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Published time: November 05, 2013 07:01

The spacecraft, which will take the Olympic flame into space, is prepared for launch (Screenshot from RTR feed)

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Space engineers have set up the rocket which will carry the Olympic flame to the International Space Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The launch of Soyuz TMA-11M is scheduled for Thursday.

The Soyuz spacecraft will be boosted by a Soyuz-FG rocket from the first launch pad of the Cosmodrome, the so-called Gagarin’s Start. It will be the first-ever delivery of an Olympic flame into space.

To mark its unusual cargo, both the manned Soyuz and the rocket are decorated in Sochi Winter Olympics theme. The capsule carries the logo of the games, while the rocket was painted with a patchwork design, featuring traditional Russian images and patterns like the firebird and Gzhel designs. A torch flame is also shown on the mission patch.

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The three members of the ISS Expedition 38 who man the spaceship are Russia’s Mikhail Turin, NASA’s Richard Mastracchio and Japan’s Koichi Wakata. They all are veteran space explorers doing their third or fourth flights.

The spacemen are to take part in the ongoing Olympic torch relay. They will carry a burning Sochi Games torch from their hotel to the bus which will carry them to the launch site.

The zero-G environment and safety measures required some compromises for the space leg of the torch relay. The flame will not be kept burning on the ISS as it would be prone to self-extinguishing, consume extra oxygen and pose a potential threat to the structure. But the torch will be carried all over the station modules and will be taken into open space during a spacewalk on Saturday.

The space station has prepared for the arrival of the torch mission. Last Friday the current ISS crew undocked the Soyuz TMA-09M capsule from the Rassvet dock module and relocated it to the Zvezda service module. The dock is now free to receive the Soyuz TMA-11M.

The Olympic torch is to spend five days in orbit. The Soyuz TMA-09M is to return it back home next week along with Fyodor Yurchikhin, Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano, who are currently working on the ISS.

Image from

The Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft is decorated with the 2014 Sochi Olympiade symbols (Screenshot from RTR feed)

Comments (13)


Buran 07.11.2013 01:58

So many ignorant fools here thinking Russia is making the launch just for the torch rather than this being a standard mission to the ISS with a new crew.


Davis-Guess Wendy 06.11.2013 12:07

Call me a CT, but this is rather odd. Especially in light of a comet with a 40,000 mile debris field ... which earth will pass through both ways (if Ison does not fall apart going around the sun). And there's more! India has just launched a space rocket today. It's suspect, that's all I am saying. Timing is odd and the rationale is weak.


David Zoppetti 05.11.2013 23:00

Happy visitor 05.11.2013 16:43

Well well,and they say that there is crisis in world. Wasting money to send a stupid torch to the space, why don't they send work to unemployed.


They did!!! that's why we don't have work here on earth!! the sent it all into outer space!!!

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