Cosmodrome Baikonur is becoming more and more famous as an object of both traditional and space tourism. It isthe first Space Harbor on theplanet,from where the first space touristshave launched into space.
In America, the teacher Christa McAuliffe was supposed to becomethe first spacetourist. Howevershe died in catastrophe during the launching ofthe space shuttle "Challenger"in 1986 in front of millions of peoplewatching the television broadcast. After this accident, the U.S. government passed a law forbidding laymen on board of space crafts.
But risk andtragic accidentscannot stop true romantics and dreamers. In 1990 and 1991 the first commercial space astronauts Toyohiro Akiyama (Japan) and Helen Sharman (UK) flew from the Baikonurto the Soviet space station "Mir" on the spaceships Soyuz TM-11/Soyuz TM-10 and Soyuz TM-12/Soyuz TM-11 as a part of the non-governmental projects private-funded by the television company TBS and consortium of British companies "Juno".
The beginning of the space tourism was the flightof the American businessman of Italian origin,Dennis Tito, on board of the Russian spaceship "Soyuz ". Space flight to the International Space Station launched on April 28and finished on May 6, 2001. The crew of Soyuz TM-32, along with Dennis Tito, also included Kazakh and Russian cosmonauts Talgat Musabayev and Yuri Baturin.
Despitethe cost of the travel to the orbit being 20 -23 millions of U.S.Dollars, the number of those desiring to fly spaceward has grown steadily. Since July 2007, the cost of the space travel increased almost twice, up to $ 30-40 million. In addition, recently was announced a $15 millionprice for a new service option, letting a tourist into the open space.
By the way, currently only the International Space Station (ISS) is used for the purpose of space tourism. The Russian spacecraft "Soyuz" is usedfor flights to the Russian segment of ISS. "Roskosmos" and Space Adventuresare engaged into organization of tourist flights. Space AdventuresCompany is working with “Roskosmos” since 2001.With the help of this company eight tourists have already visited cosmos (data is on end of 2012), and one of them (Charles Simonyi) twice.
Alas,unfortunately,not everyone in this lifecould become an astronaut or a space tourist, but we live atthe time when almost anyone who wants can visit Baikonur- the very first and most unique harbor of orbiters and space tourism on the Earth.
In the tour guides of various tour operators you can find an incredible tour that will be fascinating and interesting for those who dream of becoming an astronaut, "live" in the spirit of Space, or just want to see,at least with one eye, the place where the road into space starts. And the cost of this tour is quite affordable; all depends on how much you want and ready for.
For obvious reasonsthe cosmodrome, is a closed city, therefore, tourism develops and works according to the certain rules. As in the reserves, tourists in this citymust be accompanied byemployee of a tourist company. If you decide to visit this city, you must send a request to the travel agency at least 60 days in advance ofthe desirable date of the visit. Because to enter the city you need to get permission from " Roscosmos " and arrange a permission to see the spaceport and its facilities, and as well get authorization for professional filming and photographing , if you want to do so.
Tour operators offer a list of sights, among them are: alcove of Yuri Gagarin, launch vehicle "Soyuz " in a full size subject of the pride of local people, memorial of the deceased astronauts,excursion to International Space School. There tourists will get an unforgettable experience of communication with management, teachers and students of the unique space school and launch a rocketmodel.
Also, guests will have the opportunity to feel themselves real astronauts,for example:try a space suit "Orlan", and make pictures of it, get into the capsule of the spacecraft. Tourists can explore the launching pad number 1, named after Yuri Gagarin, where the rocket "Soyuz"is being installed.
Tour to the Baikonur’s museum can be compared with the journey by time-travel machine, where you cansee the unique collections, including Lunar Globe, personal belongings of the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first satellite of the Earth, the capsules "Soyuz", "Belka" and "Strelka" and many other items. It is also worth to visit the museum of Academician Korolyov, a house where he lived when he was at the cosmodrome.
City Baikonyr has a lot of monuments raised in honor of the famous scientists and researchers who have devoted their lives to science and space. Academician S.P.Korolev is one of the first founders of the city and the cosmodrome becausethis place was chosen as a proving ground for the test of his rocket R- 7. Therefore, thereare a square and a street named after him. Sculptor A.P.Faydysh - Karandievsky and architect N. Asatur are authors ofthe monument to Sergei Korolyovon this square.
And, of course,Baikonurhas the monument to the first cosmonaut on the planet Yuri Gagarin. It was designed by O. Pesotsky and installed in the park between the House of Communications and City Administration buildings. Also after Y.A. Gagarin was named the street which the astronauts and visitors use to enter the city from the airport.
Visitors of Baikonurcan purchase various souvenirs and literature thatwill remind of the real existence of this fantastic place in the distant steppes of Kazakhstan.