MOSCOW, Nov. 7 (UPI) -- An Olympic torch for the 2014 Sochi games arrived at the International Space Station Thursday for its historic space trek this weekend, Russian organizers said.
Cosmonauts Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazansky will carry the torch on a spacewalk Saturday -- the first time an Olympic torch has been carried in space, R-Sport reported. Russian engineers altered the torch's design so it wouldn't slip from a cosmonaut's grip during the spacewalk.
"Russia was the first country that sent a man into space, now we are setting an Olympic record by taking the torch into space," Olympic organizing committee chief Dmitry Chernyshenko said. "The appearance of the torch in the space will symbolize limitless human capacities and the aspiration of all athletes to conquer new sporting summits."
After the torch returns to Earth Nov. 11, it will travel to Sochi and be used to light the cauldron at the opening ceremony Feb. 7.
The space trip is not part of the 123-day torch relay, R-Sport said. Last month, the torch was delivered to the North Pole for the first time in the history of the Olympic movement.
The actual torch relay began on Red Square Oct. 7 and was in the Sakha Republic, as part of its 40,000-plus mile journey.