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MOSCOW - Two Russian cosmonauts have taken the Olympic torch on a spacewalk outside the International Space Station.

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After taking photos of the torch with the Earth behind it, the pair returned it to the space station and continued on with other tasks.

It's not the first time the Olympic torch has traveled to space, but it's the first time it has been taken outside a spacecraft. The torch flew aboard the space shuttle Atlantis in 1996 before the Atlanta Summer Olympics.

The torch was launched into space from the Russian-operated Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Thursday morning. It will return to Earth with a three-man crew on Monday.

The torch will not be lit aboard the space outpost because lighting it would consume precious oxygen and pose a threat to the crew.

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