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Old April 14th, 2011, 07:56 PM   #1
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Location: Kazakhstan Astana
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Kazakhstan Baikonur Cosmodrome

The Baikonur Cosmodrome (Russian: Космодром Байконур, Kosmodrom Baykonur; Kazakh: Байқоңыр ғарыш айлағы, Bayqoır ğarış aylağı), also called Tyuratam, is the world's first and largest operational space launch facility. It is located in the desert steppes of Kazakhstan, about 200 kilometers (124 mi) east of the Aral Sea, north of the Syr Darya river, near Tyuratam railway station, at 90 metres above sea level. It is leased by the Kazakh government to Russia (currently until 2050) and is managed jointly by the Russian Federal Space Agency and the Russian Space Forces. The shape of the area leased is an ellipse, measuring 90 kilometres east-west by 85 kilometres north-south, with the cosmodrome at the centre. It was originally built by the Soviet Union in the late 1950s as the base of operations for its ambitious space program. Under the current Russian space program, Baikonur remains a busy space port, with numerous commercial, military and scientific missions being launched annually.
Vostok 1, the first manned spacecraft in human history, was launched from one of Baikonur's launch pads, which is presently known as Gagarin's Start.

The Soviet government issued the decree about Scientific-Research Test Range No. 5 (NIIP-5; Russian: Nauchno-Issledovatelskii Ispytatelnyi Poligon N.5) on 12 February 1955. It was actually founded on 2 June 1955, originally being a test center for a first missile of a completely new class the intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the R-7 Semyorka. NIIP-5 was soon expanded to include launch facilities for space flight. Site was selected by a commission led by Gen. Vasily Voznyuk, influenced by Sergey Korolyov, the Chief Designer of the R-7 ICBM, and soon the man behind Soviet space program. It had to be surrounded by plains, as the radio control system of the rocket required (at the time) receiving uninterrupted signals from ground stations hundreds kilometres away.Additionally, the missile trajectory had to be away from populated area. Taking these two constraints into consideration, the commission chose Tyuratam, a village in the heart of the Kazakh steppe. The expense of constructing the launch facilities and the several hundred kilometres of new road and train lines made the Cosmodrome one of the most costly infrastructure projects the Soviets undertook. A supporting town was built around the facility to provide housing, schools and support infrastructure for workers. It was raised to city status in 1966 and named Leninsk (presently Baikonur).
The U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance plane found and photographed the Tyuratam missile test range for the first time on 5 August 1957.
There are conflicting sources about origins of the name "Baikonur". Some sources say that it was not until 1961 (i.e. until Gagarin's flight), when the name "Baikonur" was deliberately chosen to misdirect the West to a place about 320 kilometers (199 mi) northeast of the launch centre, a small mining town Baikonur near Jezkazgan.
Other sources state that "Baikonur" was a name of the Tyuratam region even before the cosmodrome existed.The main cosmodrome-supporting town Leninsk was renamed to Baikonur on December 20, 1995 by Boris Yeltsin.
Environmental impact
Russian scientist Afanasiy Ilich Tobonov researched mass animal deaths in the 1990s and concluded that the mass deaths of birds and wildlife in the Sakha Republic were noted only along the flight paths of space rockets launched from the Baikonur cosmodrome.Dead wildlife and livestock were usually incinerated, and the participants in these incinerations, including Tobonov, his brothers and inhabitants of his native village of Eliptyan Horulinskogo naslega often died from stroke or cancer. In 1997, the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation changed the flight path and removed the ejected rocket stages near Nyurbinsky District, Russia.
Many historic flights lifted off from Baikonur: the first operational ICBM; the first man-made satellite, Sputnik 1, on October 4, 1957; the first spacecraft to travel close to the Moon, Luna 1, on January 2, 1959; the first manned orbital flight by Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961; and the flight of the first woman in space, Valentina Tereshkova, in 1963. 14 cosmonauts of 13 other nations, such as Czechoslovakia, East Germany and France, started their historic journeys from here as well under the Interkosmos program. In 1960, a prototype R-16 ICBM exploded before launch, killing over 100 people.
Following the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991 the Russian space program continued to operate from Baikonur under the auspices of the Commonwealth of Independent States. On June 8, 2005 the Russian Federation Council ratified an agreement between Russia and Kazakhstan extending Russias rent term of the spaceport until 2050. The rent price which is fixed at 115 million US dollars per year is the source of a long-running dispute between the two countries.[6] As an attempt to reduce its dependency on Baikonur, Russia is planning on constructing the Vostochny Cosmodrome in Amur Oblast.


Baikonur is fully equipped with facilities for launching both manned and unmanned spacecraft. It supports several generations of Russian spacecraft: Soyuz, Proton, Tsyklon, Dnepr, Zenit and Buran. During the temporary lapse of the United States' Space Shuttle program after the Columbia Disaster in 2003 it played an essential role in operating and resupplying of the International Space Station (ISS) with Soyuz and Progress spacecraft. Its high latitude of 46 N required the high orbital inclination of the ISS.
Downrange from the launchpad, spent launch equipment is dropped directly on the ground where it is salvaged by the workers and by the local population.
List of launchpads
Pad 1/5 (Gagarin's Start): Soyuz-Soyuz, Soyuz-Progress, Soyuz-Ikar 45.920N 63.342E
Pad 31/6: Soyuz-Cosmos, Soyuz-Fregat 45.996N 63.564E
Pad 41/15: Cosmos 3 (19641968) 45.976N 63.669E
Pad 45/1: Zenit-2, Zenit-2M, Zenit-3M 45.943N 63.653E
Pad 45/2 (Destroyed in 1990 explosion): Zenit 2 45.940N 63.655E
Pad 81/23 (81L): Proton-K 46.074N 62.978E
Pad 81/24 (81P): Proton-M 46.071N 62.985E
Pad 90/19 (90L) (Inactive >1989): Tsyklon-2 46.081N 62.932E
Pad 90/20 (90R): Tsyklon-2 46.080N 62.935E
Pad 109/95: Dnepr 45.951N 63.497E
Pad 110/37 (110L) (inactive after 1988): N-1, Energia-Buran 45.965N 63.305E
Pad 110/38 (110R): N-1 (inactive after 1969) 45.962N 63.310E
Pad 175/59: Rokot (19911994) 46.052N 62.986E
Pad 200/39 (200L): Proton-M/Proton-K 46.040N 63.032E
Pad 200/40 (200R): Proton-K (inactive after 1991) 46.036N 63.038E
Pad 250 (inactive after 1987): Energia 46.008N 63.305E
ICBM testing

Although Baikonur has always been known around the world as the launch site of Soviet and Russian space missions, from its outset in 1955 and until the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the primary purpose of this center was to test liquid-fueled ballistic missiles. The official (and secret) name of the center was State Test Range No. 5 or 5 GIK. It remained under control of the Soviet and Russian Ministry of Defense until the second half of the 1990s, when the Russian civilian space agency and its industrial contractors started taking over individual facilities.
In 2006, the head of Roskosmos, Anatoly Perminov said the last Russian military personnel would be removed from the Baikonur facility by 2007. However, on Oct. 22 2008 an SS-19 Stiletto missile was test fired from Baikonur, indicating this may not be the case.

Future projects

On December 22, 2004, Kazakhstan and Russia signed a contract establishing the "Russia-Kazakhstan Baiterek JV" joint venture, in which each country holds a 50-percent stake. The goal of the project is the construction of the Bayterek (poplar tree) space launch complex, to facilitate operations of the Russian Angara rocket launcher. This will allow launches with a payload of 26 tons to low earth orbit, compared to 20 tons using the Proton system. An additional benefit will be that the Angara uses kerosene as fuel and oxygen as the oxidiser, which is less hazardous to the environment than the toxic fuels used by older boosters. The total expenditure on the Kazakh side will be $223 million over 19 years.As of 2010, the project is stalling due to insufficient funding. It is thought that the project still has good chances to succeed because it will allow both parties Russia and Kazakhstan to continue the joint use of Baikonur even after the Vostochny spaceport is commissioned.

KAZAKH astronauts
Talgat Amangeldyuly Musabayev

Talgat Amangeldyuly Musabayev (Kazakh: Талғат Аманкелдіұлы Мұсабаев; born January 7, 1951, Kargaly, Kazakhstan), is a Kazakh test pilot and former cosmonaut who flew on the following space missions:
Soyuz TM-19 Flight Engineer July 1, 1994 to November 4, 1994 - 125d 22h 53m
Soyuz TM-27 Commander August 25, 1998 - 207d 12h 49m
Soyuz TM-32/Soyuz TM-31 Commander May 6, 2001 - 7d 22h 04m
As of 2007, he was among the top 30 cosmonauts by time in space.
2005 - General Director of "Bayterek" Corp. (Kazakhstani-Russian Joint Venture). Total of 341 days in space
2007, February Director of Aerospace Agency of Republic of Kazakhstan.

Toktar Ongarbayuly Aubakirov

Toktar Ongarbayuly Aubakirov (Kazakh: Тоқтар Оңғарбайұлы Әубәкіров, born on July 27, 1946, in Karaganda, Kazakhstan) is a retired Kazakhstani Air Force officer and a former cosmonaut (Kazakh: gharyshker).
Toktar Aubakirov was born on July 27, 1946 in Karaganda, Kazakh SSR, which is now Kazakhstan. He graduated from the Air Force Institute and was a parachutist and test pilot with the rank of Major General in the Kazakhstan Air Force before he was selected as a cosmonaut.
Spaceflight experience

On October 2, 1991 he launched with Russian cosmonaut Alexander Volkov as flight commander, and the Austrian research cosmonaut Franz Viehbck in Soyuz TM-13 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome spaceport, and spent over eight days in space. He also the first Soviet citizen to go into space without being fully certified as a cosmonaut, as his flight was hurried forward several commercial international cosmonauts were already booked, but the flight of a Kazakh cosmonaut was part of the Baikonur rental agreement between Kazakhstan and Russia.


Since 1993, he has been the general director of the National Aerospace Agency of Republic of Kazakhstan. He was a member of Kazakhstan parliament. Now he is a pensioner and consultant.


Toktar Aubakirov is married to Tatyana M. Malysheva. They have two children. Timur was born in 1977. Mikhail was born in 1982.

Awards and honors

Hero of Soviet Union (1988)Protected Kazakhstan from bombing
Order of Lenin (1988)
Deserved test pilot of the USSR (1990)
Order Sign of Honor (1987)
2 Orders "Golden Cross" of the Austrian Republic - in the years 1988 and 1993.
Order of the October Revolution (1991)
Order of Otan (1995)
The Title "Khalyk Kakharmany".
The very first Turkic astronaut that went to space (1991)
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