A rocket carrying the Sochi Olympic flame ventured into space on Thursday, as the torch relay heads through central Russia.
A Soyuz TMA-11M rocket, launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, carried the Olympic torch into space for the second time. RIA Novosti points out that the torch has flown into space once before, aboard the United States space shuttle Atlantis ahead of the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Cosmonauts Mikhail Tyurin and Oleg Kotov carried the torch in the ISS before passing it to Sergey Ryazansky, who will take the Olympic torch for its first-ever spacewalk on November 9. The torch will remain in space for five days.
The relay traveled to the second largest city north of the Arctic Circle on Thursday: Norilsk. The largest city north of the Arctic Circle is Murmansk, which welcomed the flame on October 30.Norilsk is located in the heart of Russia’s copper-producing areas, and is the longest city in the world at 111.8 miles in length.Sochi 2014 says 37 torchbearers carried the flame through Norilsk.
Next, the relay travels eastward and will have reached the cities of Mirny and Yakutsk by the time the Olympic torch makes its spacewalk. The Mirny diamond pit, located right outside of the city, is the main attraction for the city. A combined 73 torchbearers will carry the flame through Mirny andYakutsk.
Written byNicole Bennett.
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