STS51F-44-18
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Spacecraft nadir point: 46.5° N, 63.7° E

Photo center point: 46.0° N, 63.0° E

Nadir to Photo Center: Southwest

Spacecraft Altitude: 176 nautical miles (326km)
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Image Caption: STS51F-44-0018 Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan August 1985
The site for the Russian space launches, known as the Baikonur Cosmodrome (also known as Tyuratam), is located in the center of the image. These launch sites, located in the Republic of Kazakhstan are environmentally positioned in a semi-arid region, approximately 125 miles (200 km) from the eastern shore of the Aral Sea. The space center has two separate launch complexes: one for international launches and one for Russian military launches. The Baikonur Cosmodrome launch facilities function in the same way as the Kennedy Space Center along the east coast of Florida; however, the Russian space center covers a much larger area. Prior to the construction of the space center, which started in 1955, at least part of the site was an abandoned open-pit copper mine. The light-colored, linear features near the center of the image shows the interconnected roads and railroads used for the transport of the rockets and personnel throughout the site. Paralleling roads and railroads (light-colored, linear features) are visible along the north side of a short section of the Syr Darya (river--dark features upper right corner). Numerous dry lakebeds (some white in color) are scattered across this relatively flat, dry landscape.