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Above: A satellite view of Proton launch facilities in Baikonur circa 2010. (Clickable map)


Origin of the site

In 1962, the Soviet government approved the construction in Tyuratam of the launch complex for the UR-500 rocket, later named Proton. All infrastructure of the new facility was built in the western section of the NIPP-5 test range in Kazakhstan, now known as Baikonur Cosmodrome. Baikonur has always remained the only location from where Protons could be launched.


Launch pad operations

All four launch pads for Proton rocket in Baikonur feature similar design. A fully assembled rocket is delivered to the launch pad in horizontal position on a railway transporter. At the pad, a special stationary erector moves the rocket into vertical position. A service tower then moves into position around the rocket for the final launch preparations.



Site 81: Original launch pads

Two original launch pads for the Proton rocket -- No. 23 and No. 24 -- are located at Site 81. Launch pads separated by a distance of about 600 meters can share much of the support infrastructure of a dual complex also known as Facility No. 333.


Site 91: Fueling area

Many of Proton's payloads have to be filled with toxic and highly flammable propellants and pressurized gases. Specifically for these hazardous operations, a fueling station designated 11G11 was built at Site 91 around 1965.


Site 92: Proton processing area

Before its arrival to the launch pad, the Proton rocket is assembled and tested in horizontal position at a dedicated assembly building located at Site 92. Absolute majority of payloads destined to ride Proton rockets are processed at a nearby Building No. 92A-50. This is the one of the most sophisticated facilities in Baikonur.


Site 95: Proton city

The main residential area providing housing for hundreds of people involved in operations with Proton rockets and their payloads is often referred to as "Proton city" by foreign visitors. It is officially designated as Site 95.

Site 200

Site 200: Two new launch pads

During the 1970's, as new variations of Proton appeared on the drawing board, the Soviet government approved the construction of a brand-new launch complex for the rocket with launch pads No. 39 and No. 40. The development of the facility started in 1970 and the actual construction was initiated in 1972. The dual launch complex is also known as Facility No. 548. It is located at Site 200, east of Proton's the original pads.


to Origins of Sputnik to Sputnik-3 to ground control to Sputnik preparations to People behind Sputnik section to Sputnik rocket to Sputnik aftermath to Sputnik design Site 200 Site 95 Site 91 Site 81