A friend and I travelled to Kazakhstan in May and booked a trip to see the 29 May launch. Everything was fine, we had permits for everything except the launch itself (all the museums, Gagarin's cottage etc), and that was just a matter of time, and then on the Monday before the launch we suddenly had everything cancelled.

The tour company said that all 70 tourists were cancelled (because of an earlier test flight crash), but in the photos of the pre-launch briefings etc., it looks like there are a lot of tourists taking photos, and a child wandering around.

Has anyone heard any info on any cancellations? Someone in the UK said it could be down politics and that some unhelpful comments were made by some of our political/royal 'elite' towards the Russians.

It was frustrating to miss the launch (and more the museums, etc.), but more frustrating to not know the reason. If anyone has any insight, that would be great.


1 Answer 1


It was probably your tour company that cancelled the trip. I was there, along with 16 other people, on a trip through Smithsonian Journeys and the Harvard Alumni Association, although the trip was actually conducted by Mir in Seattle. We toured Star City, then flew down to Baikonur on a chartered Roskosmos flight and saw the launch. Our group was at the Cosmodrome when the cosmonauts came out in their Sokol launch suits, and boarded the bus to the launch pad. I have video I shot of this.

    enter image description here

    The three-strong crew prepare for takeoff ahead of their successful mission to the International Space Station (source: MailOnline)

Looking at the above photo, I was on the left side of the cosmonauts in a large group of visitors and tourists. We were also at the observation area, 1.2 km from the launch pad when the rocket went up at 1:52 AM. Sorry to hear that you missed the trip. Hopefully you had trip insurance! Mir is running a trip again in December.


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