Baikonur is the planet's first operational space transportation site. Built in 1955 for early Intercontinental Ballistic Missile tests, it was shifted towards a civilian space program as soon as Chief Designer Sergei Korolev was able to negotiate a spare R-7 ICBM to use it as a booster for a small sattelite (PS-1, more commonly known as Sputnik-1 and "P" standing for "simplest") carrying a basic radio beacon, deployed October 4th, 1957. From that point on, the Space Race became a political matter, and Korolev's team began setting further landmarks, most prominently the first manned spaceflight, as on April 12th, 1961 Senior Lieutenant Yuri Gagarin (callsign "Kedr") orbited Earth onboard Vostok-1.
While Baikonur, and the Launch Pad 1 in particular, remains a major landmark of human spaceflight history, throughout the early 21st century, and is a massive collection of assembly hangars and launch pads for practically every booster class, the Russian military has been progressively reducing presence, instead refurbishing sites that are actually in Russian territory, such as Plesetsk or Vostochny. As of 2013, however, neither of these sites have or are planned to have manned capability; Baikonur also remains the world's highest-traffic commercial launch facility.