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.
Travis Korte is a research analyst at the Center for Data Innovation specializing in data science applications and open data. He has a background in journalism, computer science and statistics. Prior to joining the Center for Data Innovation, he launched the Science vertical of The Huffington Post and served as its Associate Editor, covering a wide range of science and technology topics. He has worked on data science projects with HuffPost and other organizations. Before this, he graduated with highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley, having studied critical theory and completed coursework in computer science and economics. His research interests are in computational social science and using data to engage with complex social systems. You can follow him on Twitter @traviskorte.