Figure 4: The Population of Space

In honor of the 45th anniversary of Apollo 11's historic launch, every journey to space (and every vehicle that took us there) is shown here. Since Yuri Gagarin kicked off the space race in 1961, the population of space has never risen above 13.

In the uncollapsed view, trips in space (solid) are grouped by launch vehicle (faded). The vertical axis has no significance in this view except to separate missions spatially. Hover over a vehicle or astronaut for details.

The evolution of our time spent in space is colored by history and philosophy. The dawn of international cooperation and changing models of crew exchange are clearly visible in the uncollapsed view. The short populous flights of American Space Shuttle are easily distinguished from the long, comparatively lonely stays on Soviet Salyut stations (with Soyuz capsules docked almost indefinitely). American launches conspicuously stop after Skylab, and pause again after each of the two shuttle disasters.

In the last decade, the International Space Station has given us the closest thing we have to a home off world. As a result, the human race has enjoyed a continuous presence in space since October 31, 2000 07:52 UTC.

As of July 1, 2014, 303 successful launches have carried 539 individuals into space (defined here as above the Kármán Line) on a total of 1,216 trips. Astronaut nationality is considered at the time of flight and prorated across shared citizenships. Russia is grouped with the Soviet Union, as the manned space program was essentially carried over. Former Soviet states are grouped with the other countries without manned space programs. The privately funded Soyuz TM-30 and the privately funded and operated flights of SpaceShipOne are grouped with their native countries.

Take a moment to consider the strange case of Sergei Krikalev, who left his home in Leningrad and launched from the Soviet Union, but landed in Kazakhstan and returned to Saint Petersburg.

I love space travel and now that I have a great dataset to use, you can expect more plots to come on the subject.


  1. List of Human Spaceflights (Consolidated, but sometimes lacking)
  2. NASA Human Spaceflight (Validation and gap-filling)
  3. How Many People Are in Space Right Now (Sanity check)