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 The number of space launches is taking off!

In this data visualization, I chart the increasing number of US commercial space launches and the FAA forecast for the next four years. While perusing the FAA site one evening, I stumbled across a bountiful dataset of all the commercial launches, their locations, and which space companies were rising up and which were becoming defunct. I knew right away this could be a great visualization, as there was a story to be told. Since the FAA is the entity granting licenses to these operations, their forecast for the upcoming landscape of launch activity seemed uniquely valuable. This graphic went through many versions before I landed on the one you see, which taught me my infographic mantra: keep it simple.

 

Looking back at previous iterations of this one, I realized the problem of trying to show too much data at once, which overwhelms the reader and defeats the purpose of the visual. This is a trap I found myself falling into often—trying to show too much in one place. It's often painful to remove interesting data from a graphic but if it's not necessary and doesn't add to the story, it's just clutter or "ink junk" as Edward Tufte would say. Stay focused or you will lose your reader!

 

A side benefit of working on this project for a month straight is that now I know the names of all the rocket companies and where they like to launch. My favorite one was "Armadillo Aerospace" (now defunct) with their adorable logo of an armadillo aviator rocketing through space.

CHART TYPES: Line Chart, Stacked Bar Chart 

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