High-res version

Photo by Nasa HQ

A spaceport or cosmodrome (in Russian) is a site for launching and receiving spacecrafts. The oldest and largest spaceport in the world is the Baikonur Cosmodrome located in the desert steppes of Kazakhstan.

The Baikonur is leased by the Kazakh government to Russia who also manages it (The Russian Federal Space Agency and The Russian Space Forces) and is probably the most busy spaceport today with numerous commercial, military and scientific missions being launched annually.

As the oldest spaceport in the world, it has seen huge political change in its time and these days it doesn’t only launch Russian cosmonauts but also European and American astronauts (among others). The Russian Federal Space Agency has leased the spaceport until at least the year 2050.

(See photos below:)

Read and see more photos from Baikonur over at Kuriositas.