Report - Energia launch control 250A Baikonur,Aug 2017

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Julian Nowill

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
Aug 23, 2015
At long last it is possible to visit Baikonur as part of a tourist group and as the penetration of the abandoned Buran hangar by Ralph Mirebs is a bit too hardcore for me, I paid my money and had 5 days there on a Russian tour.

Of course it is possible to go without a tour but you will be excluded from the launch areas and the town of Baikonur itself, a fading and tatty Russian provincial town. Current launches are either classified or International Space Station supply flights. Progress rockets are for ISS cargo and while Soyuz rockets which started life in the 1960s are smaller and for crew. Tours allow you to 1 mile from a Soyuz launch which is pretty damn close and retinal damage can occur if you do not take care. Fuel is LOX and kerosene, better for the environment than evil hypergolic fuels used elsewhere. The area has however been poisoned in the past by various mystery rocket fuels. Many buildings are derelict and photography is restricted as you might expect. Likewise, solo trips in Russian spaceport territory are not permitted.

Despite these restrictions, tourism is in its infancy and you really get a feel for the largest spaceport on Earth, its history and current space program and you can mingle with NASA/Roscosmos staffers and even the cosmonaut reserve crew who are in less strict quarantine than the guys going into space. It aint cheap and I paid Euro 3,300 for 5 days including the flights from and to Moscow. You will also need a Russian visa.


Baikonur town is walled and leased to Russia as is the launch site area to the North. Kazaks and travellers can use the railway station and airport and roads so long as they do not enter Russian leased territory.

The map above shows Leninsk as the old name for Baikonur and the whole area is dotted with launch sites and railways as well as many 'mystery buildings' such as the below involved with tracking possibly.



The best way in is on an Alrosa Tu-154, Alrosa being the world's last airline to fly it!

Anyway, on with the Energia launch control bunker finally de-classified in August 2017.






Azot = Nitrogen.




The collapsed roof on the Buran hanger.



Some years back:when in use.





You do not get this close to a launch anywhere else![/url][/url][/url][/url][/url][/url][/url][/url][/url][/url][/url][/url][/url][/url][/url][/url][/url]