Baikonur - Russian land in the Kazakh steppes.

sep 2019

Carried away by the space theme in 2016, I read many articles, books about space explorers. I googled daily about space developments, about flights and the work of astronauts, went to Moscow museums, but still didn’t know how else to satisfy my curiosity and express love for my hobby, I even stopped watching science fiction about space, because real events are much more exciting than any fiction. Over time, I realized that the apogee of my hobby should be a trip to the spaceport. Which one? There wasn’t even a question.

I visited Baikonur at the end of September 2019. For the sake of the trip I had to step up both in terms of finances and in terms of comfort. Working at regular work and getting not big income, I do not have the opportunity to relax in the resorts every 3 months, and therefore the Cosmodrome Baikonur was my only annual vacation. I decline an idea about  All Inclusive Resort, and chooses  Kazakh desert without any regrets. I traveled by train to Tyuratam two days there and then two days back. My companions, specifically Lyubov and Bogdan, met me at night on the platform and drove me to the «'Seven Winds» hotel. The place is very decent, the rooms are tidy and comfortable, they are tidied up every day in your absence. There is a shower, a bathroom, a refrigerator with a freezer, some furniture and a TV. In the morning a couple more advantages of the hotel were discovered - these were picturesque gazebos and sports grounds in the yard. But there is no time to relax in Baikonur - a very busy schedule of excursions to museums, launchpad complexes and space communications points. We were taken with very competent guides - Lyubov or Tatyana. For three pre-launch days, we visited the launch sites of Proton, Zenith, Soyuz, the Energia-Buran contact point, the rollout of the Soyuz rocket to the launch pad, space school, the city of Baikonur, the cosmonautics museum, the burnt Nedelinsky Launchpad, the Saturn radar complex and the Buran landing strip. Everything around is saturated with Power. But at the same time, there is a lot of ruin and desolation, Baikonur is an unhappy child living in a divorced family who does not receive motherly love from Russia and is almost indifferent to Kazakhstan, although it is located on Kazakh territory. Therefore, it is worthwhile to be condescending to rusting buildings, because even repairing any of them costs not only money, but also political efforts. Look at the launch pad - it’s worth all the money spent, and rolling out the rocket and launching it three times block them. See for yourself, enjoy yourself, here you can’t describe everything with words. I just want to advise you not to wake up breakfast, eat tight before morning excursions, take with you a drink, eat, sunglasses, a scarf from flying sand, a marker and a notebook for hunting for astronaut autographs. For example, I crossed paths with Viktor Yurchikhin 7 times, and all in Baikonur I took an autograph from 4 Russian and 2 American astronauts, but be quick and always carry a marker and what to sign for. And of course, a space school where you can launch a small rocket yourself, sit in the capsule of an unmanned ship that flew into space. This is just a class. Souvenir products are very good, wherever you go, they are almost everywhere. But you better buy it at the space school - help the children and teachers of the school. A productive day is best completed in the Arsenal restaurant. There are excellent salads, kebabs and fruit teas.

But in general, Baikonur is where it is really worth a visit, to see the launch of a rocket is not something from this planet.