Baikonur (Kazakh: Байқоңыр, Bayqoñır; Russian: Байконур, Baykonur), is an isolated city southwestern steppe of Kazakhstan rented and administered by the Russian Federation. It was constructed to service the Baikonur Cosmodrome.  During the Soviet period, it was referred to as Zvezdograd (Star City). 

Most of the Baikonour’s inhabitants are connected to the Cosmodrome operation.

On March 14, 2016, ESA’s ExoMars Orbiter launched from the Cosmodrome.

Ben Fredman for National Geographic Channel

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