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Film Location: Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan

Written on September 11, 2017

Baikonur Cosmodrome

Baikonur Cosmodrome is a spaceport located in southern Kazakhstan. Built by the Soviet Union in the 1950’s, it is the world’s first and largest operational space launch facility. Today, Baikonur Cosmodrome remains a busy spaceport, with numerous commercial, military, and scientific missions being launched annually.

Most facilities, museums, airports, railway, and launch pads are open to filming. This includes filming the erection of a launch pad, lift-off of the rocket, cosmonaut press conference, the launch itself, as well as the landings of the cosmonauts.

Launches take place throughout the year. See here for the schedule.

If you are a planning a shoot about the Russian space programme, the Star City cosmonaut training centre, located just outside of Moscow, Russia is another location you may wish to add to your shot-list. Star City will allow you to enter a centrifuge, try on a spacesuit, eat space food, walk inside a full size model of the international space station (that’s actually used for astronaut trainings) and more. Star City also offers zero-gravity (10 periods of 30 seconds) for around 30,000 EURO per person.

Baikonur Cosmodrome Film Permits

The spaceport is currently leased by the Kazakh Government to Russia until 2050, and is managed jointly by the Roscosmos State Corporation and the Russian Aerospace Forces.

The first priority of Baikonur Cosmodrome is its function as a spaceport. Larger film projects that may disrupt this function, such as shoots requiring exclusive us of public space, or involving larger crew, builds, big camera / lighting set ups, will be permitted on a case by case basis.

Contact us for costs of Baikonur Cosmodrome film permits. Price includes the permits, security clearances, access to the location, transport on grounds, and a handler accompanying you for the duration of the shoot.

Film permits generally take at least 45 days to process, so make sure to allow plenty of lead time.

Note, drone usage is restricted in the area.

Depending on their current usage, some Baikonur Cosmodrome locations may not be able to be filmed for security reasons.

Travel & Accommodation

As the Baikonur Cosmodrome area (6000 sq.km.) is rented by Russia, no Kazakh visa is needed if you fly in directly in from Moscow. A double-entry Russian visa is required.

The easiest way to fly to Baikonur Cosmodrome is to join a guided tour. These can be expensive with multi-day tours starting at 5000 EURO per person. Baikonur’s two airports, Krainiy (in city) and Yubileyniy (in cosmodrome) serve only semi-regular chartered flights from Almaty and Moscow. The nearest town with scheduled service is Kizilorda (267 km away), which has scheduled daily flights to Almaty and Astana.

Arriving by train in an interesting option. Baikonur’s station, Tyuratam, is located 1445 km from Almaty and the trip takes around 27 hours.

Kazakhstan Film Crew & Production Support

If you are looking to film or photograph the Baikonur Cosmodrome, and require a Kazakhstan or Russia based fixer / service producer for permitting and other production support, contact us. We are also able to recommend Kazakhstan or Russia based shooting crew experienced in working at this location including directors, DoP’s, videographers, cameramen, and stills photographers.

Photos and notes courtesy of Filmspb.TV.