Space tourism in Kazakhstan – Tour to the Baikonur Cosmodrome –
The Baikonur Cosmodrome (kaz. Baykonyr / Baykoñīr — "Rich Valley") is a space platform located on the territory of the Karmakshinsky district of the Kyzylorda region near the city of Baikonur. The city was founded in 1955, the cosmodrome was leased by Russia. The cosmodrome is the world's first spaceport for orbital launches and manned launches and the largest operating spaceport complex. All Russian space flight crews started from Baikonur.
How to get there
The Baikonur cosmodrome is located in the Kyzylorda region, Kazakhstan, between the city of Kazalinsk and the village of Zhosaly, near the village of Tyuratam. GPS coordinates: 45.965°N 63.305°E
The cosmodrome is located in the desert steppes of Baikonur, about 200 kilometers east of the Aral Sea and north of the Syr Darya River. It is located near the Tyuratam Railway Station at an altitude of 90 meters above sea level. The cosmodrome is currently leased by the Government of the Russian Federation until 2050 and is jointly managed by Roscosmos and the Russian Aerospace Forces. The leased territory has an elliptical shape, measuring 90 kilometers from east to west and 85 kilometers from north to south, in the center of which is the cosmodrome.
The Baikonur Cosmodrome was founded on June 2, 1955 by the former USSR Ministry of Defense. It was originally built as an operational base for the Soviet space program. Both Sputnik-1, the first artificial satellite of the Earth, and Vostok-1, the first human flight into space, were launched from Baikonur. The launch pad used for both missions was renamed Gagarin Launch in honor of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, pilot of Vostok-1 and the first man in space. Under the current Russian leadership, Baikonur remains a busy cosmodrome, where various commercial, military and scientific missions are launched into space every year.
The new rocket launch pad was designed by the founder of the Soviet space program, Sergei Pavlovich Korolev, and began construction on June 2, 1955. Along with its construction, various industries supporting the spaceport were built, ranging from cement factories to the production of rocket fuel. Various auxiliary facilities were prepared for the employees of the cosmodrome, including educational and medical facilities for the families of the employees of the cosmodrome.
Shortly after the first test flight, the location of the undisclosed spaceport was discovered by an American spy plane. However, the existence of this cosmodrome became widely known to the world only after the collapse of the Soviet Union, when a struggle broke out between Russia and Kazakhstan for the ownership of the cosmodrome. Now the Baikonur district is leased by Kazakhstan to Russia until 2050.
One of the well-known launch complexes is the Zenit rocket launch complex, located at Site 45 and built in the 1980s. Hundreds of communications satellites belonging to a number of countries were launched from this launch pad using the Zenit rocket. Initially, the complex had two runways, but one of them was destroyed as a result of an unsuccessful launch in 1990.
Various manned spacecraft belonging to the Soviets were also launched from the cosmodrome to explore outer space. Yuri Alekseevich Gagarin, the first person to make a space trip around the Earth, also took off from this cosmodrome. Using Vostok-1 on April 12, 1961, the Soviet cosmonaut was able to safely return to Earth.
Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kyzylorda region, Kazakhstan