The Sochi Olympic Torch Was Just Launched Into Space

It's the longest torch relay in history.

The Winter Olympic torch is on its way to outer space.

A three-man crew is bringing the torch on a Russian rocket to the International Space Station. It will stay there for five days, during which time astronauts will take it for a "walk" outside.

This isn't the first time an Olympic torch has traveled outside of earth (it also took rocket jaunts in 1996 and 2000) but it'll be a first time the torch leaves the spacecraft it traveled in. According to Reuters, Russian engineers equipped the torch with a tether so that it won't float out of the cosmonauts' grip during the journey.

The Sochi torch is on the longest relay in history. As part of its 40,000-mile trek before the Games begin February 7, it has traveled to the North Pole and it's scheduled to visit the tallest mountain in Europe, Mount Elbrus. The torch will resume its journey around planet Earth when it returns on November 11.

The Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft decorated with 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games' patterns, is set on its launch pad at the Baikonur cosmodrome November 5, 2013. The Soyuz spacecraft will carry Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin and U.S. astronaut Rick Mastracchio to the International Space Station (ISS) on November 7. (REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov) 
A police officer secures an area as the Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft decorated with 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games' patterns, is transported to its launch pad at the Baikonur cosmodrome November 5, 2013. (REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov)
A specialist works on the Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft decorated with 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games' patterns, set on its launch pad at the Baikonur cosmodrome November 5, 2013. (REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov)
Russia's Roscosmos space agency chief Oleg Ostapenko (front R) greets crew members of the International Space Station (ISS) in front of a Roscosmos official carrying the torch of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games shortly before the crew members board the Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft at the Baikonur cosmodrome November 7, 2013. (REUTERS/Kirill Kudryavtsev)
International Space Station (ISS) crew members, (L to R) Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata, Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin and U.S. astronaut Rick Mastracchio, pose with the torch of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games after a news conference behind a glass wall at the Baikonur cosmodrome November 6, 2013. (REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov)
The Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft, emblazoned with the Sochi 2014 logo and a blue-and-white snowflake pattern, rests on its launch pad before the blast-off. (REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov)
International Space Station crew members Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata (C), Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin (bottom) and NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio wave as they board the Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft with the torch of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games at the Baikonur cosmodrome November 7, 2013. (REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov) 
The Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft decorated with the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games logo and a blue-and-white snowflake pattern, blasts off from the launch pad at the Baikonur cosmodrome November 7, 2013. (REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov)

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