Tyuratam (Kazakh: Төретам, Töretam; Russian: Тюратам) is a station on the main Moscow to Tashkent railway, located in Kazakhstan. The name is a word in the Kazakh language and means "Töre's grave"; Töre, or more formally, Töre-Baba, was a noble, a descendant of Genghis Khan. Tyuratam is near the Baikonur Cosmodrome, a Russian - formerly Soviet - spaceport, and near the city of Baikonur (formerly Leninsk), which was constructed to service the cosmodrome.
"Baykonur, if you'll look on the coordinates, is 135 miles [217 km] away or something. Tyuratam may only be a railhead, but it is the Tyuratam Launch Complex. They call it Baykonur, I know. . . . I'm going to call it Tyuratam. ABC is going to call it Tyuratam. SAC Strategic Air Command calls it Tyuratam. Can we once and for all straighten that out and arrive at a . . . name for it, Tom?"
In the mid 1950s, the Soviet Union announced that space activities were being conducted from the Baykonur Cosmodrome, which was assumed to be near the city of Baykonur, in the Kazakh SSR. In reality, the launch facilities were located 400 kilometres (250 mi) to the southwest at Tyuratam to obfuscate the west as to its true location.
It was this launch site that the CIA was trying to locate by systematically tracking over the major rail networks of the Soviet Union in Central Asia with U-2 spy planes. The site was discovered and photographed in 1957. Interestingly, Francis Gary Powers was scheduled to overfly it on his ill-fated mission in 1960, but either due to detecting the guidance radar of the defending SA-2 missile battery or cloud cover which prevented him from photographing the site, he avoided Tyuratam and was later shot down over the Ural mountains.
- NASA. "The Partnership: A History of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project". NASA.
- Pike, John. "Baikonur Cosmodrome 45.9 N 63.3 E, TYURATAM - Overview, Supporting Facilities and Launch Vehicles of the Soviet Space Program, The 1971-1975 study". GlobalSecurity.org. mypressplus.com. Retrieved 30 April 2016.
- Zak, Anatoly. "Secrecy around Baikonur". Russian Space Web. Anatoly Zak. Retrieved 30 April 2016.