A four month Olympic torch relay towards a countdown to the Sochi 2014 Winter Games started in Moscow on October 7. It is the longest route to be covered in the history of Olympics. The 65,000 Kilometer route will be covered by train, plane, car and reindeer sleigh. As a part of this journey a rocket with the unlit torch abroad, was blasted off on Thursday to the International Space Station. The rocket which was inscribed with the pale blue Sochi logo was launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
Russia’s Mikhail Tyurin, NASA’s Rick Mastracchio and Koichi Wakata of Japan smiled as they carried the lit torch aboard the Soyuz rocket, earlier, on its five day space visit. The torch was unlit on board due to safety concerns. Russian Cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazanskiy, who are manning the space station, will take the torch out for its first space walk. It will later be returned to earth on Monday. Last month the torch was carried to the North Pole and later this month it will sink to the deepest lake, Lake Baikal. In February it will be taken to the peak of Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe and Russia.