Amazing and Bizarre Photos of the Baikonur Space Complex

Regular readers of this blog know that one of my hobbies is making fun of Russia and while studying some of its more interesting and bizarro world efforts. They sometimes seem to be absolutely strange and, of course, are all done with a Soviet massively industrial aesthetic that lends its own weird sense to things.

This was just added to by a series of photos released on The Atlantic‘s website this week of the Baikonur Star City space complex.

Astronauts and cosmonauts chopping wood for a fire.

"In Russia, you chop wood before being shot into space!"

The whole photo set is totally worth checking out, but I’ve selected (re: downloaded and reposted) a few of what I found to be the most interesting. Most interesting in that they show Star City to be a massive complex that dwarfs anything in the United States, but that it’s also clearly seen better days. Some of them even look downright post-apocalyptic.

Take the one below. I swear, the designers of Fallout 3 couldn’t have modeled a run down communications dish better than what the Russians already have.

A communications dish at the Baikonur space complex.

"A great civilization built this long ago to communicate with their gods..."

That said, one has to salute Russia’s space efforts. Besides actually still maintaining a human space flight program, they’ve also taken on the entire task of resupplying the ISS, and the transportation of cosmonauts and astronauts, which means they’ve got a very active rocket building program.

Considering that NASA is essentially paralyzed when it comes to human space flight, I’m just thrilled that anyone’s still doing this kind of thing.

So.. hats off to you, Russia. Even if Baikonur looks like the set to the next Mad Max.