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Kazakhstan's Baikonur Space Center Celebrating 60th Anniversary

Authorities at the Baikonur Space Center in Kazakhstan was due to start celebrations on June 1 to mark its 60th anniversary.

The celebrations begin with a ceremony at the Baikonur cultural center and a concert on the evening.

Baikonur was built in the 1950s as a test range for the Soviet Union’s first intercontinental ballistic missile, the R-7.

The official date of its establishment was June 2, 1955, when an order was signed to formally open the testing range of the Soviet Defense Ministry.

The first ballistic missile was test-fired from Baikonur on May 15, 1957.

The testing range later was transformed into a spaceport -- with the world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik, launched from the facility on October 4, 1957.

The first manned space mission by Yuri Gagarin was launched from Baikonur on April 12, 1961.

Russia has been leasing the Baikonur spaceport from Kazakhstan since 1994.

Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS