The Olympic torch is heading to space.

This new International Space Station crew is taking the iconic flame carrier on its next launch.

At a press conference in Kazakhstan, Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin said he is happy to be a part of the movement.

(SOUNDBITE) (Russian) RUSSIAN COSMONAUT, MIKHAIL TYURIN, SAYING:

"We have already embraced the idea that we, too, are now a part of the Olympic movement. We now wish that athletes would embrace the idea that they are now space program participants. Because, in fact, despite the apparent external differences, we actually do the same thing."

The torch will go up on the Soyuz spacecraft specially-outfitted in the logo of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

American astronaut Richard Mastracchio says he plans to follow the Olympics from space.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. ENGINEER AND NASA ASTRONAUT RICHARD MASTRACCHIO, SAYING:

"As far as sports that I personally will be watching, things like the speed skating, downhill skiing are always fun, so I'm sure we'll get some of the results on board space station."

The torch will be returned to Earth after five days in space.