7 Nov 2013

Olympic torch sent into space

8:48 pm on 7 November 2013

A rocket carrying an Olympic torch has blasted off from Baikonur in Kazakhstan as part of efforts to showcase the 2014 Games in Russia.

Three cosmonauts from Russia, America and Japan are taking the torch to the International Space Station, which the rocket is due to reach on Thursday, the BBC reports.

On Saturday, two Russian astronauts will take it on a space walk outside the space station.

The Olympic torch has been carried into space twice before - in 1996 and 2000 - but it has never left a spaceship.

The torch will then be returned to Earth and used to light the Olympic cauldron in February next year.