Watch a time lapse of the Olympic torch’s launch into space


Updated 5:45 p.m. ET | The Associated Press posted a time-lapse video of the Soyuz TMA-11M spacecraft, responsible for carrying the Olympic torch to space, preparing to launch from Kazakhstan. The torch will return to Earth Nov. 11 to complete its tour ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Games. Video by AP

Russia is cold. But space is colder.

That’s where the Olympic torch can be found as it makes the International Space Station its home for a five-day visit, ahead of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. The torch joins its counterpart from the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics to become the second torch to visit space. This one, however, gets to be the first Olympic torch to see open space. Russian cosmonauts will take the torch on a spacewalk Saturday before the torch returns to Earth on Nov. 11 to resume its pre-Olympic tour.

The flame itself gets to make no such visit, though. The torch will remain unlit on the space station due to safety concerns, and outer space remains unkind to open flames.