Russia today launched a rocket carrying Russian, Japanese and US astronauts and an Olympic torch for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi from its Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
In a statement, Russian space agency said, the Soyuz-FG rocket and Soyuz-TMA capsule, emblazoned with the symbols of the Sochi Games and the Olympic rings, blasted off for the International Space Station, ISS at 0414 GMT.
In an unprecedented move, two Russian cosmonauts who are already on board the ISS will take the torch on a space walk on Saturday. The torch will remain unlit at all times for safety reasons. The torch will then be taken back to Earth on Monday by three astronauts now finishing their five-and-a-half-month mission.