Although I am not a space enthusiast, I found myself challenged this week with a SpaceX data project. I dove into the abundance of data available in the API, but was initially overwhelmed and unsure where to begin. To gain some direction, I started by exploring the variables in each API category. My first area of interest was Starlink, and I conducted my own research to learn more about it.

My curiosity led me to investigate launch patterns, the satellite itself, and the locations from which it was launched. While I didn’t end up using all of this information, it was helpful to my overall understanding of the data.

I used Alteryx to create a workflow of the data, which helped me to visualize patterns and trends. After putting the location of Starlink on a map, I was able to find a compelling story to tell about the satellite. I was surprised by the sheer number of satellites in orbit and began to research potential environmental impacts.

To emphasize the significance of the satellite project, I added KPIs and the Starlink map to my dashboard. Two of the most important KPIs I included were the number of active satellites and the mass of decayed ones. These metrics underscored the fact that although Starlink is a relatively recent project, there are already thousands of kilograms of potential debris in space.

To stay on theme, I chose a dark design for my dashboard, which ended up complementing the space theme nicely. I then created a forecast for the next three years and looked at the average increase in satellite weight to better understand the trends. The resulting chart made it clear that there will be more satellites launched in the future, and that they will be larger than their predecessors. The forecast also included a projection of potential mass of decayed satellites until 2030, given that the typical life expectancy of a satellite is only 5 years.

As I dug deeper, I learned that there are many potential drawbacks to the Starlink project, including environmental concerns. However, I discovered that there is not yet enough research to make any definitive conclusions.

Finally, I added a chart to my dashboard which explained where decayed satellites end up. As their orbit decays, they end up closer to Earth, which could pose additional challenges. To help explain some of the more complicated terms, I added a button to show the definition of certain keywords.

Link to vis:

Veronika Varaksina
Author: Veronika Varaksina

Meet Veronika, a dynamic and adaptable individual with a diverse background in economics, accounting, finance, and data analytics. Veronika pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and gained valuable experience in financial analysis, budgeting, and forecasting while working for five years in accounting and finance. However, she soon realized her passion for data analytics and decided to pursue a postgraduate degree in Analytics at Victoria University. Throughout her academic journey, Veronika honed her skills in data visualization, statistical modeling, and machine learning. Her expertise earned her a spot in the highly competitive Data School program, where she further continues to expand her skills in data analysis.