A Russian police helicopter guards the Russia's booster rocket Soyuz-FG with the space capsule Soyuz TMA-11M that will carry new crew to the International Space Station (ISS) as the rocket is transported from hangar to the launch pad at the Russian leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2013. The rocket is emblazoned with the emblem of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. For the first time, it will also carry an Olympic torch to space as part of the ongoing Olympic torch relay. The torch will be brought back along with the station's current crew. The rocket is scheduled to blast off on Thursday, Nov. 7. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
A rocket carrying the Olympic flame has successfully blasted off from earth ahead of the Sochi 2014 Winter Games.
NASA Live TV showed the rocket's successful launch from the Russian-operated Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early on Thursday. The torch will make its way to the International Space Station before being taken into space itself -- making it the Olympic flame's first spacewalk in history.
Russia's Mikhail Tyurin, NASA's Rick Mastracchio and Koichi Wakata of Japan carried the torch, which will remain unlit throughout the flight for safety reasons, onto the rocket, which was emblazoned with the pale blue Sochi 2014 logo.
The torch will return to earth on Monday, and will travel across Russia before being used to light the Olympic flame at Sochi's stadium on Feb. 7