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So in 2010 I was in Florida at the scheduled launch of Discovery, only to have it delayed until February of 2011 :( Alas, I was not able to return and therefore will never get to see a Space Shuttle launch.

However, since travelling through Kazakhstan last year, I've become more aware of the 'Russian option' of Baikonur and its Soyuz launches. However, the only info I can find is that to view it is expensive. And that there may be a rather large exclusion zone.

Is there a cheapish way to get to see one of these launches, assuming you're already in Kazakhstan? And by cheap, I mean backpacker-cheap ;)

Image: Soyuz launch. Dmitry Lovetsky / AP

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If your requirement is Soyuz and not Baikonur, you can get to French Guyana: They now have a Soyuz launch pad. –  mouviciel Feb 24 '12 at 6:51

1 Answer 1

up vote 6 down vote accepted

You could enjoy a four-day tour to Baikonur for the low, low price of 3790 EUR1. These are organized to coincide with a planned launch from the station, so you'll be able to combine this with some sightseeing around the cosmodrome. The package is said to include:

  • Transport between the Airports and your hotel
  • Visa support
  • A guide (English, French, Spanish, German) during whole tour
  • Hotel with breakfast 4 days/3 nights in Baikonur (accomodation in Standart Double room)
  • Plane tickets Moscow-Baikonur-Moscow
  • Sightseeing Tours in Cosmodrome Baikonur according itinerary
  • Permission for entry and visit Baikonur Cosmodrome
  • Meals: breakfasts, lunches, dinners
  • Observation of Launch of Manned Space Flight.
  • Memory gifts from our company: Model of Soyuz-TMA and photo of crew with cosmonauts' autographs

You get much more than just a launch for your money, but that can still be out of range for an average backpacker.

There closest launch date is 30 March 2012, and you should book at least 45 days in advance.

I couldn't find a reliable launch schedule, but here's one for unmanned satellite launches, and another one that includes manned flights as well.

1 For some value of "low".

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protected by Mark Mayo Feb 14 at 3:05

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