March 12, 20:13
STAR CITY (Moscow region), June 24 (Itar-Tass) - Russia’s Roskosmos Federal Space Agency has become an honored partner of the Olympic torch relay. An agreement on that was signed by president of the Sochi Organizing Committee Dmitry Chernyshenko and Roskosmos head Vladimir Popovkin.
Under the agreement, Roskosmos will organize the delivery of Olympic torch to the International Space Station and into the open space. This will be the first ever spacewalk with the Olympic torch. Early in November 2013 one of the main symbols of the Olympic Games will travel to the ISS on board the Soyuz TMA-11M piloted craft. It will be launched by a Soyuz carrier, on which the symbols of the 2014 Olympic Games will be painted.
Russian cosmonauts Sergei Ryazansky and Oleg Kotov will carry the torch on a spacewalk. The cosmonauts are already training at the Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Centre. The torch will not be lit for safety considerations. Commander Mikhail Tyurin has been honored to hand the Olympic torch out to the crew. Cosmonaut Fedor Yurchikhin, who is on board the ISS at the moment, will return the torch back to Earth.
“Nobody has ever done it before,” Chernyshenko stressed. “Russian cosmonaut’s spacewalk with the Sochi torch will make it into the history of the Olympic Games,” he stressed.
Popovkin said the sending of the torch into the open space is an unprecedented event in the history of the Olympic movement and in the history or world cosmonautics. “Its delivery into orbit by Russian cosmonauts will become a new bright page of space chronicles,” Popovkin emphasized.
Sergei Ryazansky said that the technology of carrying the Olympic torch on a spacewalk is already mastered.