The Baikonur Cosmodrome is the world's oldest and largest operational space launch facility. It is located in Kazakhstan near the town of Tyuratam. Baikonur is leased by the Kazakh government to Russia until 2050 and managed by the Russian Federal Space Agency. The European Space Agency (ESA) also uses Baikonur to launch missions to Mars (the Mars Express mission was launched onboard a Soyuz-Fregat rocket in 2003 from this location). It was originally built by the Soviet Union as the base of operations for its ambitious space program from the late 1950s to the 1980s. One of the launch pads, known as "Gagarin's Start" is the launch pad from which Vostok 1 was launched.