Airline Food The Way It Should Be!
Aboard the Clintondale charter out of Moscow, headed for Baikonur.
Antonov Offload, July 5, 2008
The Antonov being prepped to offload the Inmarsat-4 R3 satellite at Baikoknur, Kazakhstan.
The Antonov Disgorges Its Cargo
After lifting its nose, lowering the forward part of the fuselage, and deploying a ramp, crew members set up a pair of extended ramps for the satellite container.
Bird In A Box On A Train
The container carrying the satellite is carefully lowered onto pins mounted on a flatcar for the ride to the processing facility.
Museum Welcome Sign
On the ground floor of the museum, directly under the piece of hardware that was the backup unit for the original Sputnik, there is this display, which is a model of the Baikonur cosmodrome and its various facilities. Our area, where Protons are assembled and launched, is in the top right corner, just "under" the earth.
Buran's New Home
TThe last time I saw this Buran (which is an engineering mockup, as the actual flown vehicle was destroyed in a construction accident), it was out in the middle of nowhere, not far from an RSC Energia facility that's near the facility that processes Soyuz vehicles for ISS. Now this vehicle is situated right next to the Gagarin Museum at the Baikonur cosmodrome. It's kind of unsettling to come out of the building and find this right next door. by alexpgp
Bust of Gagarin
This bust dominates the area in front of the entrance to the Gagarin museum at the Baikonur cosmodrome.
Me after the tour of the Gagarin museum at Baikonur.
Professional engineer, writer, linguist, programmer, Linux maniac, private pilot, and "the ham operator known as KC0MWF." Pagosa Springs, Texas
Boys earning money selling watermelon off a cart in Baikonur. Just the thing to be doing when it's 100-plus in the shade!
It's fortunate that Baikonur's bottled goods distributor is not far from where the bus parks when campaigners go into town for a day off. That way, it's easy to cart one's purchase to the bus for the long trip home.
As we travel around the cosmodrome, it isn't uncommon to see camels or horses from our vehicles. Today, upon returning to the hotel for lunch, this dromedary was strolling around, looking for a tasty lunch of vegetation (towards which it is pointed and where it eventually wound up). Launch pad service towers adorn the background.
Eclipse Through Grape Leaves, 10:33 UT (63 E, 46 N)
AImages of the solar eclipse of August 1, 2008 projected on a piece of white paper on a bench in a gazebo that also serves as a grape arbor in Baikonur, Kazakhstan. The images are formed as a result of the "camera obscura" effect, by light passing through small gaps between the grape leaves that grow on vines that surround the gazebo.
Living Camera Obscura
When I got back to the hotel during the height of the eclipse, I went into the gazebo that also serves as a grape arbor, hoping to use a hole in the tin roof as a "lens" to project an image of the sun on a piece of paper. Instead, I ran across a fantastic sight: there must have been a hundred images of the eclipse projected through the grape leaves onto the bench in the arbor!
Soyuz LV in Downtown Baikonur
This impressive full-size Soyuz rocket is on display near the main post office and is next to the main road into town. Parties of newlyweds regularly stop to get photographed here.
Energia Launch Site: Visiting Tourist
Lots of sun and wind, and permission to wander and take photos.
Energia Launch Site Panorama
On the second day of upper stage propellant loading, our group enjoyed a visit to one of the launch sites for the Energia launch vehicle. This is a combination of three shots taken from the lip of the flame trench. The geotags correspond to the location where the launch vehicle would normally be positioned for launch, over the brown, recessed area in what appears to be a wall.
In the vast and dry nation of Kazakhstan the Baikonur Cosmodrome remains an operational testament to the Space Race. Baikonur is the world's oldest and largest operational space launch facility. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 it continued operation in partnership with the Commonwealth of Independent States.
The Baikonur Cosmodrome is home to a tremendous amount of space exploration history. The first human spaceflight (Vostok 1) launched here as well as the first unmanned satellite (Sputnik 1). The facility was crutial for the International Space Station construction after the 2003 Columbia disaster.
Now, like so much else, the old Cosmodrome is a tourist attraction. RusAdventures offers a six day tour that departs from Moscow with your choice of English, French or German tour gides. - SOURCE
Energia Launch Site: Side View
The Energia mobile service tower is located in the distance, immediately to the left of a light tower. If you look closely, you can see the outline of the Energia launch vehicle in the spaces of the tower.
Energia Launch Site: Flame Bucket
I am standing on the floor of the flame trench to take this picture. It's 47 meters vertically from the bottom of the structure to the level where, if you look closely, there are people standing at the railing.
Energia Launch Site Flame Trench
Stitched together from several shots. Note the collapsed section on the left.
Energia Launch Site: Concrete Accordioning
This site has basically remained unused since the fall of the Soviet Union. Time takes its toll.
Energia Launch Site: Fueling Tower
The structures in the foreground are where the Energia launch vehicle would sit for launch. The tower in the background was used to deliver the propellant (liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen) as well as compressed gases.
Proton-M Launch Vehicle
The Proton-M is a sizeable chunk of hardware, measuring 61 m in length (something just short of 200 feet). It's hard to get a good shot of the vehicle that doesn't position the rocket at a foreshortened angle to keep it all in the camera's viewfinder. (Stitched from three shots.)
Breeze-M fueling station
That's me standing in front of the Breeze-M fueling station. The launch vehicle had just been backed into the structure, in preparation for loading propellant onto the Breeze-M upper stage. The geotags correspond to the location of the fueling station.
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