25 September 2008

Space Shuttle vs. International Space Station vs. SpaceShipOne vs. Soyuz vs. Shenzhou

I compared the Google-popularity of the five successful human spaceflight projects, using again Google Insights for Search.

The Space Shuttle won this one by a mile. The peak in July 2005 corresponded with its first mission since the catastrophic February 2003 mission (Columbia). Every next trend line high point was linked to a mission. Note how the February, March and May 2008 missions seem to have been met with less interest than the previous ones. SpaceShipOne also stood out due to the two peaks (June and October 2004) corresponding with the successful manned spaceflights, winning the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for the first civilian suborbital manned flight. The October 2005 second Chinese manned spaceflight, the Shenzhou VI, and the interest in today's Shenzhou VII mission are the only times Shenzhou registered in the 2004-today time span. Finally, it appeared that every rise in interest for the International Space Station coincided with a Space Shuttle mission. The work horse of human spaceflight, Soyuz, doesn't get much recognition unfortunately.

1 comment:

  1. yes - it is a pity that the Shuttle gets the most interest. Even then,
    media and public interest has waned considerably since the (ancient) Apollo program.

    The Soyuz essentially disappears in the public interest.

    Therefore my interest in the upcoming Chinese space program. It might spark some more general interest.