In Search of Space

Humans have been trying to expand the space boundaries ever since they started flying. Space is unknown to almost every one of us, and every country wants to excel in its space missions. Space missions are rising year after year, and now private companies are also competing for their share of space.

This data visualization looks deeply into all the space missions from 1957 to 2020. It informs the viewers about the countries involved, mission status, progression over the years, and much more. Take your time and dive into the journey of the great space race!

Project Details


Individual Project

My role


Tools used

Adobe Photoshop,
Adobe Illustrator,


September, 2020 to December, 2020

Satellite in space hovering over earth

Project Brief

This project provides detailed information about space missions from 1957 to 2020. It gives the viewers information about the total number of space missions, countries with the most space missions, mission status, rocket status, number of launches per country, average money spent on space missions, and much more.

Kaggle provided the data for this visualization, and the link to the data set is – All space missions from 1957. The data set includes information such as company name, location, date, detail about the mission, rocket status, mission status, and the money spent on these missions.

The aim was to -

Create a data visualization that can engage viewers from all age groups and inform them about all the necessary information regarding space missions.

Inspirations and References

For this data visualization, I wanted to do something that could catch the attention of the viewer. The idea was to create a custom visualization, which can engage viewers from all age groups. Firstly I looked at some visualizations that aligned with my topic. This way, I could strategize my visualization that could suit the data appropriately.

These visualizations are a great example to set the base, and they gave me clarity about how and what I wanted to achieve with my data visualization.

Celebrations around the world
This visualization was an inspiration to work on something unique. I liked the idea of creating a circular calendar that could go along with my data. This source was my base inspiration, and the concept further developed as I moved forward with my project.

Moon phases
Here too, the visualization is exploring the idea of a circular calendar. The visuals here are very minimal, but they still provide appropriate information. As my database was vast, this visualization was a desirable example to provide detailed information with minimal visuals.

Satellites orbiting the earth
This visualization was a perfect example for me to explore graphs and bars. The visualizations used here are appropriate to the content and do not mislead the viewers. It inspired me to add graphs and bars to my visualization to provide detailed information about the data.

User Research

I made a rough draft of my data visualization to test it on the participants for the User Research. Participants selected for this visualization were from diverse backgrounds, which helped me understand the visualization from different perspectives. The participants from this User Research provided quality feedback, which helped me create and develop the final visualization. Click here to check the initial draft of my data visualization.

The aim was to -
Understand how efficiently the data visualization can communicate with the viewers and test the language, visual aesthetics, and information of the visualization.

Insights from User Research

  • The participants felt that the layout for the data visualization could be better and more natural for eye movement.
  • Participants felt that the font was not readable on the computer screen, and they can be a bit bigger for better readability.
  • Participants thought that the language was not accurate, and I could use common words and terms to better connect with the viewers.
Rough sketch of data visualization on a sketchbook

Final Design

The idea was to create a poster out of this data visualization. Something that viewers can store with them as a collectible. The thought behind this was to grab the viewer’s attention and hold them long enough to read the complete visualization. As soon as the viewer views the custom visualization, they get more curious about the visualization. This visualization proudly presents how far we have come since the first space launch in 1957. With this data visualization, we can be proud of the human race for all the efforts and time put into these space missions.

The purpose was to -
Make a well-structured data visualization that not only looks visually appealing but also provides the needful information.
Final data visualization for In Search of Space

Reading the data visualization

In this visualization, every country has separate icons to distinguish them. The viewers can locate these icons on the visualization and get to know the country by reading through legend. The colors here represent rocket status from the space mission. The blue represents active, yellow represents retired, red represents failed, and the outline represents upcoming missions. Combining colors and icons, the viewers can tell if the space mission for a particular country was a success or failure.

As users go away from the center, they go back in time, and the visualization starts to fade away. This way, the viewers have more focus on the present time. The viewers can also see the months wrapped around the circle. It was tough to locate each date correctly, and hence, a centerline divides each month into two parts. This division is helpful to distinguish between the first half of the month and the second half. With this, the viewers can understand the approximation of space missions along with the years.

Information about how to read the data visualization
Data visualization for In Search of Space

Countries and space missions

I have selected the top 5 countries and their number of space missions since 1957 for this visualization. I have used a bar chart to present information about countries and their total number of space missions. With this visualization, the users can tell which country is leading and which country is falling behind. This visualization also informs about the failed space missions of the country.

To provide more detail, I have used a line chart to present information years by year. In this line chart, the viewers can see the progress of space missions for each country. It is a suitable way to compare different countries and their space missions based on years.

Data visualization for countries and their space missions

Money spent on space missions

The line chart on this visualization represents the average money spent on space missions throughout the years. This line chart helps to understand which year had the most spending and which year had the least. As you can see the average money spent on these space mission have been decreasing since 2010.

The second visualization for this data informs about the average money spent on space missions by countries. By looking at this visualization and comparing it with the one above, one can wonder how Russia has the most space missions even though they spent less money than the USA.

Data visualization for money spent on space missions

Countries and the number of launches

In this visualization, the viewers can understand countries and the number of launches. It is different from space missions, as this informs about the number of launches for a country. For example, India may have a space mission, but the USA can be the most desirable condition to launch that space mission.

Hence it is crucial to know which country has the most favorable situation to launch a space mission and which country has the least. Here the sizes of the circles represent the number of launches for a country. Big circles represent the most number of launches, and small circles represent the least number of launches.

Data visualization for number of launches per country
Data visualization for In Search of Space

Take-Aways and Next Steps

In this data visualization, I learned a lot of new things. I was able to achieve a custom visualization without any use of visualization-making software. I realized that software can limit the creativity of the creator and can restrict them from experimenting. This data visualization was good for me to understand what information may be necessary for the viewers and avoid information overload.

I see this data visualization moving forward by updating data with the latest space missions. The other way to take this project forward could be by comparing private and government organizations in space missions. Space travel is just opening up for everyone, and with it are opening endless possibilities.

Image of earth as seen from space

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