Olympic torch to make first-ever spacewalk
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Olympic torch to make first-ever spacewalk

A Russian Soyuz rocket carrying an unlit Olympic torch and three astronauts blasted off to the International Space Station on Thursday ahead of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

On Saturday the ISS crew will take the torch made for the Sochi games on a spacewalk. An Olympic torch previously traveled to space in 1996 and 2000, but this will be the first time a torch goes outside the station's airlock. The torch will remain unlit for obvious safety reasons and return to earth on Monday to continue its Olympic relay to Sochi. The Winter Games begin Feb 7, 2014.

Longtime NASA photographer Bill Ingalls was there to document the launch. Check out his photographs of the event in our gallery. 

Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls