Baikonur Cosmodrome

The Baikonur Cosmodrome (Kazakh: Байқоңыр ғарыш айлағы Baiqoñyr ğaryş ailağy [bɑjxɔˈnər ɣɑˈrəʃ ɑjlɑˈɣə]; Russian: Космодром Байконур Kosmodrom Baykonur [kɐsməˈdrom bɐjkəˈnʊr]) is a spaceport operated by Russia within Kazakhstan. Located in the Kazakh city of Baikonur, it is the world's first spaceport to be used for orbital and human launches. In terms of area, it is the largest operational space launch facility.[1] All Russian crewed spaceflights are launched from Baikonur.[2]

Baikonur Cosmodrome

Kazakh: Байқоңыр ғарыш айлағы
Russian: Космодром Байконур
The Cosmodrome's "Gagarin's Start" launchpad on 10 October 2008, prior to the rollout of Soyuz TMA-13.
Airport typeSpaceport
Location Kazakhstan (leased to  Russia)
Time zoneALMT (UTC+06:00)
Elevation AMSL90 m / 295 ft
Coordinates45.965°N 63.305°E / 45.965; 63.305
Baikonur Cosmodrome is located in Kazakhstan
Baikonur Cosmodrome
Baikonur Cosmodrome
Location in Kazakhstan
Baikonur Cosmodrome is located in Russia
Baikonur Cosmodrome
Baikonur Cosmodrome
Location relative to Russia (leased until 2050)
Baikonur Cosmodrome is located in the Soviet Union
Baikonur Cosmodrome
Baikonur Cosmodrome
Location in the former Soviet Union
Map all coordinates using: OpenStreetMap 
Download coordinates as: KML

Situated in the Kazakh Steppe, some 90 metres (300 ft) above sea level, it is 200 kilometres (120 mi) to the east of the Aral Sea and north of the Syr Darya. It is close to Töretam, a station on the Trans-Aral Railway. Russia, as the official successor state to the Soviet Union, has retained control over the facility since 1991; it originally assumed this role through the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), but ratified an agreement with Kazakhstan in 2005 that allowed it to lease the spaceport until 2050. It is jointly managed by Roscosmos and the Russian Aerospace Forces.[citation needed]

In 1955, the Soviet Ministry of Defence issued a decree and founded the Baikonur Cosmodrome.[3] It was originally built as the chief base of operations for the Soviet space program. The Cosmodrome served as the launching point for Sputnik 1 and Vostok 1. The launchpad used for both missions was renamed "Gagarin's Start" in honour of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, who piloted Vostok 1 and became the first human in outer space.[4] Under the current Russian management, Baikonur remains a busy spaceport, with numerous commercial, military, and scientific missions being launched annually.[5][6][7]

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