Now located in Kazakhstan, the Baikonur Cosmodrome was an integral part of the Soviet side of the space race. This is where Sputnik One, the first rocket to orbit the Earth, and Vostok One, the first rocket to carry a human into space, were launched. The installation was so large that an entire town was built around it to house the workers and their families.
Fast-forward 68 years, and most of the facility is a ghost town. The towering, steel scaffolding rigs are nothing more than silent sentinels, keeping watch over launchpads packed with dust and scattered leaves. Control rooms that once buzzed with activity now sit in shadow, empty and silent. There’s even a space shuttle, just sitting there, like an old truck on cinder blocks in a redneck’s front lawn. Russia has been non-committal over their plans for the facility—although the land now belongs to Kazakhstan, the Russian government has a lease on the property until 2050.