donderdag, december 13

The Baikonur Cosmodrome is the oldest and largest operational space launch facility in the world. It is located in the middle of the vast Kazakh desert, where temperature ranges from -40ºC to 45°C and some peaceful camels watch the spaceships passing by.It was from Baikonur that the first satellite to orbit the Earth was launched, and that Yuri Gagarin, the first man to orbit the Earth, was launched into space in 1961.

Since the collapse of the USSR, many areas of the Baikonur site have simply been abandoned, because the Russian government cannot afford to maintain them. Those areas which are not in use are not guarded, and this continues to result in the robbery of equipment and materials. Besides, the surroundings of the Cosmodrome have become a kind of “spaceship junkyard", as many fuel tanks and booster stages fell back to earth before reaching orbit. Recently, the norwegian photographer Jonas Bendiksen took some amazing pictures of the areas where the supporting rockets landed, and the people who live there.