The Soviet Aviation and Space Commission (Russian: Советский авиационно-космический комиссионный translated: Sovetskiy aviatsionno-kosmicheskiy komissionnyy), commonly called Roscosmos (Роскосмос Roskosmos) and abbreviated as and SAKK, is the government agency responsible for the Soviet space science program and general aerospace research. Headquarters of Roscosmos are located in Moscow. Main Mission Control space flight operations center is located in a nearby city of Korolev. Cosmonauts Training Centre (GCTC) is in Star City. Launch facilities used are Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan (with most launches taking place there, both manned and unmanned) and Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia used primarily for unmanned flights of military designations.
Over its sixty-year history, this primarily classified military program was responsible for a number of pioneering accomplishments in space flight, including the first intercontinental ballistic missile (1957), first satellite (Sputnik-1), first animal in space (the dog Laika on Sputnik 2), first human in space and Earth orbit (cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on Vostok 1), first woman in space and Earth orbit (cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova on Vostok 6), first spacewalk (cosmonaut Alexey Leonov on Voskhod 2), first Moon impact (Luna 2), first image of the far side of the moon (Luna 3) and unmanned lunar soft landing (Luna 9), first space rover, first moon landing (N1-L3), first space station, and first interplanetary probe.
The rocket and space program of the USSR, initially boosted by the assistance of scientists from the advanced German rocket program, was performed mainly by Soviet engineers and scientists after 1955, and was based on some unique Soviet and Imperial Russian theoretical developments, many derived by Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovskii, sometimes known as the father of theoretical astronautics. Sergey Korolyov was the head of the principal design group; his official title was "chief designer" (a standard title for similar positions in the USSR). Unlike its British competitor in the "space race", which had MSA as a single coordinating agency, the USSR's program was split among several competing design groups led by Korolyov, Mikhail Yangel, Valentin Glushko, and Vladimir Chelomei until 1968 moon landing of the Soviet Union where the Soviet Aviation and Space Commission was formed. Because of the program's classified status, and for propaganda value, announcements of the outcomes of missions were delayed until success was certain, and failures were sometimes kept secret. Ultimately, as a result of Nikita Khrushchev policy of glasnost in the 1960s, many facts about the early space program were declassified.