Offbeat

By Mike Jone


These eerie images show a pair of abandoned space shuttle abandoned in the desert.

The ageing shuttles reside in a massive spaceport that sits alone, miles from anything else.

Baikonur Cosmodrome was the world’s first and largest space launch facility with both Sputnik 1 and Vostok 1 were launched from it.

CATERS

Now the facility sits partially abandoned and two shuttles sit gathering dust – they were from the Buran Space Program and include a test shuttle and one that was never used after the space program ended in 1993.

These images were captured by Konstantin Kosmodemiansky,a blogger and photographer from Moscow who trekked 28km through the desert with his friends in order to capture the bizarre scene.

With his five man team, Konstantin travelled 2500 km in total, in order to reach the site – travelling all the way from Moscow.

The 21-year-old says that they had to turn off the cars lights when they approached to avoid being spotted.

Konstantin, from Moscow, said: “So our team has been in many different places – I’d say we have come through both ice and fire, but this trip to Baikonur was the toughest in all the senses of this word.

CATERS

“I hope our story will be interesting for everyone and I will be invited to work in Roskosmos – I like to photograph spaceships.

“Also I need to say that as a result of this trip we decided to build our own rocket – which is what we are actively dealing with now.

“It was a long way ahead – only a little bit shorter than to Paris. There were a lot of interesting things to see (with no tickets, special tours, approvals and so on) and of course adventures.

“Baikonur is 2500 km from Moscow. Going there by car is the cheapest and easiest way.

CATERS: The Soyuz MS-04 taking off 

“The plan was as easy as the following: using offline maps – we wanted to get by car as close as possible in the desert than leave a car and walk through the sand towards the buildings of cosmodrome.

“We didn’t want to be seen from the cosmodrome – that’s why we drove with the lights off, sometimes using portable torches to light the way.

“But soon the car got stuck and we had to continue walking – we still had about two days before the launch.

“We were heading towards the biggest workshop on the territory of cosmodrome.

v

“It is 15 meters high and it is just a couple km far from so called “Gagarin’s launch” – a launching table where a rocket launch was planned.

“It took as about 6 hours to walk 22 km – and it was a point when we saw the buildings of cosmodrome, then we had to move like partisans – in order not to be seen and we still had to walk 4-6 km to get to the point.

“We saw abandoned dwelling houses – with no windows or doors as during USSR times – near Baikonur were a real small city where people working at cosmodrome lived.

“We also saw an abandoned “military town” – houses where soldiers and officers lived.

“All those abandoned buildings were just a perfect place to hide. There were many places not to be noticed or found by the cosmodrome workers.”