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Sochi Olympic Torch Makes Historic Spacewalk

Russia sent the Sochi Olympic torch into space for a photo op.
Posted at 3:39 PM, Nov 09, 2013

There it is — history being made. The Sochi Olympic torch was out into the great unknown Saturday, taken outside of the International Space Station for some amazing photo ops. (Via NASA)

That's the main reason Russia sent the unlit torch into space. In this video you can hear a translation of the cosmonauts giving directions for picture-perfect shots: "Can you get a little bit higher? Make sure your head is at the same level."​​ (Via NASA)

Like this one. That's Oleg Kotov holding the torch in one hand and the International Space Station in the other — you can also see our planet glowing brilliantly in the background. And this one of the torch taken from one of the men's helmet cameras. (Via NASA)

Russian cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergey Ryazanskiy were the two that handled the torch during their two-hour spacewalk. 

The torch blasted off into space Thursday morning and is expected to make its way back to earth Nov. 11. (Via Olympic.org

After the pictures were taken, the cosmonauts put the torch back inside for safety and did some maintenance on the ISS. (Via NASA)

Although some beautiful pictures came out of the torch's spacewalk, that's not the only reason Russia chose to showcase it to the world from space. The country has made it clear that it hopes breaking barriers for the Sochi Olympics will portray the nation as a modern superpower. 

"They're seizing this opportunity at the moment to get the world's spotlight focused on them, to show that they've gotten out of the slump of the '90s, and as they put it, 'a new modern nation.'" (Via BBC)

This will be the longest torch relay in Olympic history. It's scheduled to last four months, stretch 39,000 miles and stop in 130 different cities.  

But the spacewalk and relay aren't the only history makers — the Olympics in Russia will be the most expensive in history, costing a whopping $50 billion. The 2014 Winter Olympics are set to begin Feb. 7.