Baikonur Cosmodrome is the largest space port in the world. Thousands of launches have taken place from here, making it the true birth place of space exploration. Worldwide it is only rivaled by Kennedy Space Center in the United States. Many ‘firsts’ in space were constructed and launched from Baikonur, starting with Sputnik, the world’s first satellite, in 1957. The first person in space, Yuri Gagarin, launched from here in 1961, as did the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, in 1963. Continue reading
Launch Pads, Shuttles and Public Outreach
Baikonur, 20 December 2011 – After breakfast at our hotel we are greeted again by our guide Elena and driver Said. The uncomfortable van is heated up and waiting for us, this time with the Tsenki security lady already inside. When we leave she hands us two “cosmodrome rules” forms and asks us to sign a list with our names on it. No idea why this was not needed yesterday, but we happily comply. We are waved past the city exit checkpoint, and easily pass the cosmodrome entrance checkpoint. Then again a long empty road to the cosmodrome facilities. This time we go straight on, towards the far end of this middle section at site 250. This launch pad is no longer active, but of great historical importance, as it was built for the Russian space shuttle Buran in the 1980’s.