Gagarin’s Start nears the end—historic launch pad to be decommissioned

Enlarge / A Soyuz rocket launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in 2012. (credit: NASA)

Site no. 1 in dusty Baikonur, Kazakhstan, is where it all began. In October 1957, an R-7 missile launched the first satellite into space, Sputnik. Less than four years later, Yuri Gagarin reached orbit from this launch pad, and the first woman, Valentina Tereshkova, followed two years later.

Even today all Russian, American, Canadian, European, and Japanese astronauts launch into space from Site no....

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