Saturday, September 24, 2011

Space Over Time


Technology Review, the magazine of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, published one of those all-the-rage-now "infographics" in their Autumn issue.

It shows over 7,000 space launches, noted annually by nation and payload purpose: military, government non-military, commercial or amateur, including universities.

Space Launches by Nation
Click to Download Full-Sized PDF

Unsurprisingly, Russia and America dominate the visual field, with steady streams of launches interspersed with explosions of activity in particular eras. The remaining 50 countries hold some well-knowns as well as many surprises... (Really? Mauritius launched commercial payloads??)

Well done, I say. Even if they do have an ink-blot-versus-totem-pole sort of feel.

Space data from 1959 through the summer of 2011 was compiled by Harvard-­Smithsonian Center ­astrophysicist Jonathan ­McDowell, and arranged graphically by MIT Research Engineer Mike Orcutt and Tommy McCall, founder of