Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Beautiful Baikonur

Baikonur Transitions Online - Abdujalil Abdurasulov To return to the era of Soviet-U.S. rivalry, it’s not really necessary to travel back in time. A visit to this town in southwestern Kazakhstan will do.

Baikonur, which since the 1950s has hosted the launch site for Soviet space missions and their Russian successors, is still a closed Russian enclave in this Central Asian country. Visitors enter only with permission, and soldiers guard a checkpoint at the entrance.

The town’s landscape has changed little since the time of the USSR. A silence hangs over the downtown of crumbling Soviet-era buildings. There are few street advertisements and billboards, no Internet cafes, no new high-rise buildings. This town of 70,000 hardly seems like the busiest space launch center in the world, but it is.
Read the rest HERE.

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