The Wall Street Journal has published a series of data visualizations demonstrating the commercialization of outer space. The visualizations show that 2,000 satellites orbit the Earth and that firms have supplanted governments as the most frequent launchers. For example, since 2017, firms have launched hundreds of observation satellites, which provide services ranging from helping commodity traders track agriculture production to aiding governments in mapmaking. The visualizations also show that at least 24,000 manmade objects are circling the Earth as a result of rocket launches and satellite failures.
Visualizing the Commercialization of Space
Michael McLaughlin is a research assistant at the Center for Data Innovation. He researches and writes about a variety of issues related to information technology and Internet policy, including digital platforms, e-government, and artificial intelligence. Michael graduated from Wake Forest University, where he majored in Communication with Minors in Politics and International Affairs and Journalism. He received his Master’s in Communication at Stanford University, specializing in Data Journalism.
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