|September 24, 2008||Permalink|
When NASA's last scheduled Space Shuttle mission lands in June of 2010, the United States will not have the capability to get astronauts into space again until the scheduled launch of the new Orion spacecraft in 2015. Over those five years, the U.S. manned space program will be relying heavily on Russia and its Baikonur Cosmodrome facility in Kazakhstan. Baikonur is an entire Kazakh city, rented and administered by Russia. The Cosmodrome was founded in 1955, making it one of the oldest space launch facilites still in operation. Here are collected some photographs of manned and unmanned launches from Baikonur over the past several years. (26 photos total)
The Soyuz TMA-3 spacecraft and its booster rocket, transported by rail to the launch pad to be raised to a vertical launch position at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan on October 16, 2003, in preparation for liftoff October 18 to carry C. Michael Foale, Expedition 8 commander and NASA science officer; Alexander Kaleri, Soyuz Commander and flight engineer; and European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Pedro Duque of Spain to the International Space Station. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)
To see the entire entry, with all photographs, click here.
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