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Russian photographer takes remarkable snaps of abandoned space shuttles



  • Ageing spacecraft kept in the enormous Baikonur Cosmodrome, located in Russian enclave in Kazakh steppe
  • Baikonur was Earth's first space launch facility, with both Sputnik 1 and Yuri Gagarin's Vostok 1 launching there
  • The audacious snaps were taken by Konstantin Kosmodemiansky, a blogger and photographer from Moscow
  • His five-man team journeyed 15,500 miles to get to the site and had to turn off their lights to remain hidden

By Iain Burns For Mailonline

Published: 08:01 EDT, 16 April 2018 | Updated: 08:17 EDT, 16 April 2018

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Russian adventurers have managed to sneak into a partially abandoned spaceport and take remarkable photographs of disused shuttles.

The ageing spacecraft are kept in the enormous Baikonur Cosmodrome, which is located in a Russian enclave deep within Kazakhstan's desert steppe.  

Baikonur was the world's first and largest space launch facility, with both Sputnik 1 (the first artificial Earth satellite) and Yuri Gagarin's Vostok 1 (responsible for the first manned spaceflight) launched from it.  

Now the facility is home to two shuttles that sit gathering dust after the termination of the Buran Space Program in 1993.

The audacious snaps were taken by Konstantin Kosmodemiansky, a blogger and photographer from Moscow who trekked 17 miles through the desert with his friends in order to capture the bizarre scene.

His five-man team journeyed 15,500 miles in total from their Moscow starting point and had to turn off their headlights to avoid being seen by guards.    

Photographer Konstantin Kosmodemiansky, 21, said his team had to turn off their car's lights when they approached the spaceport 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.' Pictured: His team standing at the base of the rocket in Baikonur, with metal platforms rising to the top on either side 
Photographer Konstantin Kosmodemiansky, 21, said his team had to turn off their car's lights when they approached the spaceport 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.' Pictured: His team standing at the base of the rocket in Baikonur, with metal platforms rising to the top on either side 

Photographer Konstantin Kosmodemiansky, 21, said his team had to turn off their car's lights when they approached the spaceport 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.' Pictured: His team standing at the base of the rocket in Baikonur, with metal platforms rising to the top on either side 

The ageing spacecraft are kept in the enormous Baikonur Cosmodrome, which is based in a Russian enclave deep within Kazakhstan's desert steppe. Baikonur was the world's first and largest space launch facility, with both Sputnik 1 (the first artificial Earth satellite) and Yuri Gagarin's Vostok 1 (responsible for the first manned spaceflight) launched from it. Now the facility is home to two shuttles that sit gathering dust after the termination of the Buran Space Program in 1993. Pictured: Two members of the team stand on one of the abandoned craft, which is literally gathering dust 
The ageing spacecraft are kept in the enormous Baikonur Cosmodrome, which is based in a Russian enclave deep within Kazakhstan's desert steppe. Baikonur was the world's first and largest space launch facility, with both Sputnik 1 (the first artificial Earth satellite) and Yuri Gagarin's Vostok 1 (responsible for the first manned spaceflight) launched from it. Now the facility is home to two shuttles that sit gathering dust after the termination of the Buran Space Program in 1993. Pictured: Two members of the team stand on one of the abandoned craft, which is literally gathering dust 

The ageing spacecraft are kept in the enormous Baikonur Cosmodrome, which is based in a Russian enclave deep within Kazakhstan's desert steppe. Baikonur was the world's first and largest space launch facility, with both Sputnik 1 (the first artificial Earth satellite) and Yuri Gagarin's Vostok 1 (responsible for the first manned spaceflight) launched from it. Now the facility is home to two shuttles that sit gathering dust after the termination of the Buran Space Program in 1993. Pictured: Two members of the team stand on one of the abandoned craft, which is literally gathering dust 

Konstantin said: '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.' Pictured: A small doorway at the spaceport 
Konstantin said: '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.' Pictured: A small doorway at the spaceport 

Konstantin said: '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.' Pictured: A small doorway at the spaceport 

His five-man team journeyed 15,500 miles in total from their Moscow starting point and had to turn off their headlights to avoid being seen by guards. Konstantin said: 'Baikonur is 2500km from Moscow. Going there by car is the cheapest and easiest way. The plan was as easy as the following: using offline maps - we wanted to get by car as close as possible in the desert then leave a car and walk through the sand towards the buildings of cosmodrome'. Pictured: The spaceport, photographed from the long grass on its periphery 
His five-man team journeyed 15,500 miles in total from their Moscow starting point and had to turn off their headlights to avoid being seen by guards. Konstantin said: 'Baikonur is 2500km from Moscow. Going there by car is the cheapest and easiest way. The plan was as easy as the following: using offline maps - we wanted to get by car as close as possible in the desert then leave a car and walk through the sand towards the buildings of cosmodrome'. Pictured: The spaceport, photographed from the long grass on its periphery 

His five-man team journeyed 15,500 miles in total from their Moscow starting point and had to turn off their headlights to avoid being seen by guards. Konstantin said: 'Baikonur is 2500km from Moscow. Going there by car is the cheapest and easiest way. The plan was as easy as the following: using offline maps - we wanted to get by car as close as possible in the desert then leave a car and walk through the sand towards the buildings of cosmodrome'. Pictured: The spaceport, photographed from the long grass on its periphery 

Describing his journey, the photographer said: '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 the cosmodrome.' Pictured: A rocket they found at the base 
Describing his journey, the photographer said: '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 the cosmodrome.' Pictured: A rocket they found at the base 

Describing his journey, the photographer said: '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 the cosmodrome.' Pictured: A rocket they found at the base 

Konstantin said he used many of the old buildings to hide from detection. He explained: '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'
Konstantin said he used many of the old buildings to hide from detection. He explained: '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'

Konstantin said he used many of the old buildings to hide from detection. He explained: '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'

Two large buildings at the base were photographed at night, with the starry Kazakh desert sky bright overhead. Konstantin described the secret mission as an adventure 
Two large buildings at the base were photographed at night, with the starry Kazakh desert sky bright overhead. Konstantin described the secret mission as an adventure 

Two large buildings at the base were photographed at night, with the starry Kazakh desert sky bright overhead. Konstantin described the secret mission as an adventure 

During the final leg of the journey - a walk - it was hard to remain hidden, he said, explaining: 'It took us about 6 hours to walk 22km - and it was a point when we saw the buildings of the 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.' Pictured: Their prize, an abandoned shuttle 
During the final leg of the journey - a walk - it was hard to remain hidden, he said, explaining: 'It took us about 6 hours to walk 22km - and it was a point when we saw the buildings of the 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.' Pictured: Their prize, an abandoned shuttle 

During the final leg of the journey - a walk - it was hard to remain hidden, he said, explaining: 'It took us about 6 hours to walk 22km - and it was a point when we saw the buildings of the 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.' Pictured: Their prize, an abandoned shuttle 

The team of adventurers also climbed into the space shuttle and took photographs of the cockpit, which contained many of the original dials and toggles 
The team of adventurers also climbed into the space shuttle and took photographs of the cockpit, which contained many of the original dials and toggles 

The team of adventurers also climbed into the space shuttle and took photographs of the cockpit, which contained many of the original dials and toggles 

The audacious snaps were taken by Konstantin Kosmodemiansky, a blogger and photographer from Moscow who trekked 17 miles through the desert with his friends in order to capture the bizarre scene
The audacious snaps were taken by Konstantin Kosmodemiansky, a blogger and photographer from Moscow who trekked 17 miles through the desert with his friends in order to capture the bizarre scene

The audacious snaps were taken by Konstantin Kosmodemiansky, a blogger and photographer from Moscow who trekked 17 miles through the desert with his friends in order to capture the bizarre scene

The ageing shuttles reside in a massive spaceport that sits alone, miles from any other settlements. Pictured: The lime-green interior of one of the craft
The ageing shuttles reside in a massive spaceport that sits alone, miles from any other settlements. Pictured: The lime-green interior of one of the craft

The ageing shuttles reside in a massive spaceport that sits alone, miles from any other settlements. Pictured: The lime-green interior of one of the craft

The cockpit still contains much of the original gadgetry needed to pilot the craft in space - but the windows need a thorough clean 
The cockpit still contains much of the original gadgetry needed to pilot the craft in space - but the windows need a thorough clean 

The cockpit still contains much of the original gadgetry needed to pilot the craft in space - but the windows need a thorough clean 

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