Exactly one month after the launch of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Torch Relay, the iconic torch is taking its first-ever spacewalk.

Earlier today, the unlit torch blasted off aboard the Russian "Soyuz" rocket from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. On Saturday, two cosmonauts will bring it into open space when they venture outside the International Space Station. 

The Olympic torch has traveled to space before — in 1996 aboard the U.S. space shuttle Atlantis — but has never been taken outside a spacecraft. 

The historic expedition, which will be broadcast live on Russian TV, is one of several firsts in the longest-ever domestic Olympic Torch Relay. The 2014 Sochi Olympic Torch Relay is giving thousands of inspirational torchbearers the opportunity to bring the flame — and the Olympic spirit — to Russia’s 83 regions. The torch will travel by plane, train, car and even reindeer sleigh.

View a full-screen image gallery.

In October, the flame traveled to the North Pole aboard a Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker. Later this month, it will sink to the bottom of the world's deepest lake, Lake Baikal. And in February, the torch will reach the peak of Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Russia. The relay kicked off in Moscow on Oct. 7 and will conclude in Sochi on Feb. 7 during the 2014 Olympic Games opening ceremonies.



Man with Olympic Torch

Coca-Cola is the longest continuous supporter of the Olympic movement, with a relationship dating back to 1928. The company has been involved with the Olympic Torch Relay since 1992. Over the last two decades, Coca-Cola has helped take the Olympic flame to 42 countries, promoting active lifestyles and inspiring people to take on new challenges.

Coca-Cola is accompanying the Olympic flame on all segments of the Sochi 2014 route. Brand ambassadors are greeting spectators from a specially illuminated Coca-Cola "Vlivaisya" truck and handing out special cheering sticks, limited-edition Coca-Cola bottles, flags and more. View a full-screen image gallery.

More than 2,000 of the 14,000 torchbearers who will carry the flame across Russia were selected through a national campaign organized by Coca-Cola, which received more than 65,000 applications and 14 million votes. The inspirational young people selected include:

Dmitry Gladun, Vladivostok: At 15 years old, Dmitry proves you can achieve a lot even at a young age. He excels at sports and academics, and has been swimming for 11 years and boxing for three years ago. Dmitry saw a Coca-Cola TV commercial featuring famous hockey player Alexander Ovechkin and immediately filled out an application online. “I asked all of my friends and family to vote for me on the site," he said. "My parents were a huge support; they know it’s important for me.”

Anastasia Pluzhnikova, Nizhny Novgorod: Anastasia learned about the chance to become a torchbearer on the Coca-Cola website. “I have been promoting a healthy lifestyle. Athletes are a good example... their challenges and victories help you set goals and reach them,” she said.

The environment is Anastasia’s main passion. She is a member of the Nizhny Novgorod environmental movement, “Let’s Change the World," which planted 200,000 trees with the help of nearly 5,000 schoolchildren, teachers and parents.

Yury Pyankov, Moscow: Yury’s story is nothing short of a miracle. The 24-year-old suffers from autism. He is unable to talk, and his best friend and "listener" is an Alaskan malamute named Roxana. A few years ago, Yury started "mushing" with his dog. In canicross, the dog runs in front of his or her master. That’s how Yury, his father Aleksey and Roxana kicked off the Olympic Torch Relay at the Moscow Arkhangelskoe Museum on Oct.10.

“You need a very good connection with the dog. If you don’t have one, the dog won’t even run next to you,” Yury’s mother, Elena, says. “My son has a supernatural bond with this dog. We first saw Roxana as a puppy, and she chose Yury for her master. We got her specifically for him and she did everything to grab his attention.”

These are just a few of the many inspiring torchbearer stories Coca-Cola has to share. The company hopes to help make the Sochi 2014 Olympic Games an unforgettable experience for everyone by motivating people to make healthy choices and encouraging them to pursue their life goals. Learn more... and join in!