Baikonur Cosmodrome to welcome more tourists
Updated 19:15, 14-Jan-2019
By Michal Bardavid
Fancy visiting the Russian equivalent of NASA's Kennedy Space Center in the United States?
Then look no further than the Baikonur Cosmodrome located in the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan.
Home to the Russian space program, it has traditionally been difficult for tourists to obtain permission to visit the launch site.
However, authorities hope to change that.
Speaking to Assignment Asia, Baikonur mayor Konstantin Bussygin said, “Tourism is one of the important and fast developing sectors of the city. Right now, we have seven hotels in the city. But we are planning to build new ones, as well as develop new touristic routes.”
Baikonur is home to about 70,000 inhabitants. /VCG Photo

Baikonur is home to about 70,000 inhabitants. /VCG Photo

Baikonur is known for the 1957 successful launch of the Sputnik 1, the world's first artificial satellite launched into orbit.
Located in southern Kazakhstan, it is also said to be one of the most remote places on Earth.
The obscurity is deliberate because during its earliest days, it was built as a center for missile development, and the Soviets didn't want the Americans to know the location.
It was also important that the launch site not be located near large populations in case of accidents.
Space experts added that rocket launches need to be situated as close as possible to the equator, where Earth has greater rotational speed.
Assignment Asia is CGTN's award-winning current affairs program featuring long-form stories and documentaries on some of the most pressing issues in the region. The show airs Saturdays at 1330 and 2130 GMT, with replays every Sunday at 0630, Monday at 0130, and Tuesday at 0530.