Canadian Man Makes Risky Journey to Explore Abandoned Soviet-Era Space Shuttle Site

An abandoned space shuttle site from the Soviet-era draws many urban explorers, even though it’s off limits to the public.

Chris Luckhardt of Toronto, Canada, is one person who risked getting caught by the Russian military to explore the decaying buildings and spacecraft that were left behind.

He spoke to Inside Edition Digital and said that this space shuttle is called the “Everest of urban exploring. It is like the top one that many of them want to get to.”

“Out in the middle of the Kazakhstan Desert is the Baikonur Cosmodrome, and that’s where the space shuttles are located,” he says. “The Baikonur Cosmodrome was originally created by the Soviet Union, and when the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia made an agreement with Kazakhstan to lease the territory that the Spaceport is sitting on. And so it’s officially Russian territory, Russian controlled.”

He photographed his experience in detail and says he can only hope something will be done to preserve the site for space enthusiasts such as himself.

He says the site is actively patrolled by armed military and they are part of the Russian Aerospace Forces.

“They were watching, there were reports of other explorers being caught while doing the hike back, doing the hike in when they were inside the building, they were caught because the soldiers would come in and check and it’s better to not be caught, obviously,” he says. “We arrived, got through all that debris field, climbed over a couple of fences, and then we went around the building and ensured nobody was there because the patrols were checking somewhat infrequently, but they were still checking. And we crawled through a window on the main floor, very simple, got a little lost in the offices, but eventually made it into the open area where the space shuttles are sitting.”

Luckhardt says that when he saw the shuttle, “there are no words in any language to describe it.” Adding, “It’s just awe shock.”

The thrill seeker documented his adventure on YouTube and Instagram.

“I wanted to document it for space enthusiasts for the future because we don’t really know what’s going to happen to these shuttles. The politics around them are tricky. They’re actually owned by a Kazakhstan businessman now, but he doesn’t have access to the spaceport, and there’s a debate and conflict between him and the Russian authorities who run the Spaceport. So people want the shuttles to be saved, especially the one that was almost finished because of its historical prominence in the space exploration community and in the history of it,” he says.

The shuttles have been in this part of the world since 1995.

“They would’ve had a fleet of five eventually that were going to be part of their space program. Soviet Union collapses. Russia has no money for the program, so they cancel it. And in August of 1995, they parked both of those space shuttles inside the facility that they’re in now,” Luckhardt says.

Luckhardt never made it inside the shuttles and when asked if he would go back to try, he replies, “never say never.”

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