Clear skies reach from the Red Sea to the Himalayas, stretching north to Kazakhstan, home of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, the only space port operating human space flights.
The Cosmodrome is located on Kazakhstan's desert steppe.
The first orbital satellite, Sputnik 1, was launched from Baikonur in 1957, followed by the birth of human space flight with Vostok 1, which carried cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin in 1961.
The Soyuz program, which is based at the Cosmodrome, is the only human space flight system in operation, the only means of carrying crews to the International Space Station. This week, Soyuz TMA-17M returned astronauts from the ISS — and Soyuz TMA-19M delivered Expedition 46 to the ISS.
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