Today is the 50th anniversary of Sputnik‘s launch. Sputnik was the first artificial satellite placed into orbit around Earth. This event marked the beginning of the Space Race between the United States and the Soviet Union. Sputnik’s journey began at Launch Complex 5. This facility later gained the nickname “Gagarin’s Pad” after Yuri Gagarin became the first person launched into space from the same location. Russia continues to launch its latest Soyuz rockets from this same facility.

I was lucky enough to visit this launch pad during a trip to Kazakhstan last year. We were given a tour of various facilities in the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The image here is of a logo painted on the launch pad to mark Sputnik‘s launch. You can now view the photographs I took of “Gagarin’s Pad” by clicking here.

There are also albums of pictures Terri and I took during our vacation this year. So far you can view photographs from the US Spacemodeling Team Trials and the Air Zoo Museum. Simply click on the corresponding link.