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In this data visualization I chart the increasing number of U.S. commercial space launches and the FAA forecast for the next four years. While looking around the FAA site one evening, I stumbled across a bountiful dataset of all the commercial launches, their locations and which space companies were coming and going. Instantly, I could see there was a story to be told and 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 above, which taught me my infographic mantra: KEEP IT SIMPLE.

 

Looking back at previous iterations of this one (shown below), I realized their problem. I felt they would be overwhelming the reader with too much information. This is a trap I found myself falling into often—trying to show too much in one space. 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.

 

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. The cutest one was "Armadillo Aerospace" (now defunct) with their adorable logo of an armadillo aviator rocketing through space.

Iteration 1

Iteration 2

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