Cosmonautics or astronautics is the process of space exploration with the help of automatic and manned spacecraft.
The first experimental suborbital space flights have been carried out by the German V-2 rocket in 1944. However, the basis for practical exploration of space was laid on Oct. 4, 1957 with the launch of Sputnik in the Soviet Union. The great achievement and the starting point for the development of manned space flight was the flight of Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's on April 12, 1961.
Another outstanding event in the field of space exploration was the landing on the Moon on July 21, 1969. American astronaut Neil Armstrong first set foot on the surface of the natural satellite of Earth.
However, the early years of space development were characterized not by cooperation but by fierce competition between nations. International cooperation has been intensively developed only in recent decades, primarily due to the joint construction of the International Space Station and the research carried out on board.
Today the space exploration is characterized by new projects and plans for exploring the Solar system. Manned cosmonautics is going back to the Moon and turns its gaze to the distant Mars.