Mapping the History of Satellite Launches
A visualization published last week shows all 7,455 satellites that have been launched since the U.S.S.R.’s Sputnik first achieved orbit in 1957. The visualization, created by Harvard University Graduate School of Design student Chris Bennett for a course project, shows the launch year, launch site, and type of orbit of each satellite. It shows the Cold War playing out in U.S. and U.S.S.R. launches up until 1991—the year the Soviet Union collapsed—when the rate of launches slows down considerably. The visualization is presented alongside a historical narrative of satellites and the growth of private spaceflight.