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US astronaut to deliver Olympic torch into space

Updated: 2013-11-06 16:11
( Xinhua)

MOSCOW - The delivery of the Olympic torch into the space will contribute to the unity of nations, US astronaut Richard Mastracchio said Wednesday.

During a pre-flight press conference in the Baikonur space center of Kazakhstan, Mastracchio praised the symbolic meaning of delivery of the Sochi Games torch into the International Space Station (ISS), saying he was happy to witness and participate in the event as part of the "space team."

The Soyuz TMA-11M spaceship will take off Thursday from the Baikonur, bringing an Olympic torch to the ISS. The torch will be taken on a short spacewalk Saturday by Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy before being taken back to Earth later.

In preparation for the blast off and the space torch relay, the spaceship and the carrier rocket are both decorated in Sochi Winter Olympics theme.

The capsule carries the logo of the Games while the carrier rocket is painted with a patchwork design.

The 22nd Winter Olympic Games are slated for Feb 7-23, 2014 with 98 events to be contested.