Baikonur Cosmodrome

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

Baikonur Cosmodrome

Kazakh: Байқоңыр ғарыш айлағы
Baiqoñyr ğaryş ailağy
Russian: Космодром Байконур
Kosmodrom Baykonur
The Baikonur Cosmodrome's "Gagarin's Start" Soyuz launch pad prior to the rollout of Soyuz TMA-13, 10 October 2008.
Airport typeSpaceport
Russian Aerospace Forces
LocationKazakhstan (leased to Russia)
Time zoneUTC+06:00 (+06:00)
Elevation AMSL90 m / 295 ft
Coordinates45.965°N 63.305°E / 45.965; 63.305
Baikonur Cosmodrome
Baikonur Cosmodrome
Baikonur Cosmodrome

The spaceport is in the desert steppe of Baikonur, about 200 kilometres (120 mi) east of the Aral Sea and north of the river Syr Darya. It is near the Tyuratam railway station and is about 90 metres (300 ft) above sea level. The spaceport is currently leased by the Kazakh Government to the Russian Federation until 2050 and is managed jointly by the Roscosmos and the Russian Aerospace Forces.[citation needed] The shape of the area leased is an ellipse, measuring 90 kilometres (56 mi) east–west by 85 kilometres (53 mi) north–south, with the cosmodrome at the centre.

Baikonur Cosmodrome was established on 2 June 1955 by the former Soviet Ministry of Defence.[3] It was originally built as the base of operations for the Soviet space program. Both Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, and Vostok 1, the first human spaceflight, were launched from Baikonur. The launch pad used for both missions was renamed Gagarin's Start, in honour of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, pilot of Vostok 1 and first human in space.[4] Under the current Russian management, Baikonur remains a busy spaceport, with numerous commercial, military and scientific missions being launched annually.[5][6]

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