Our data & how we present it

RocketLaunch.org's purpose is to make space exploration more captivating, exciting and accessible to all. We do this with an extensive database of launch and space related data, and a carefully designed website to showcase this data in the most relevant, captivating way possible. We work very hard to ensure our data is of the highest quality and accuracy, and to present it in the most effective and accurate way. You can find out more about how we do this by reading the Q&A's below.

Where do we get our data from?

The majority of new launch data comes from The Space Devs, a collection of developers and researchers dedicated to improving public knowledge and accessibility of spaceflight information.

Their data comes from 1st-party (space agencies, launch service providers, satellite operators, etc), 2nd-party (space journalists and news outlets which have proven reliable) and community sources (forums or user reports). The data is frequently checked, and inaccuracies are rectified quickly.

Historical launch data was sourced from Jonathan McDowell's GCATGunter's Space Pagespacefacts.de, as well as other public databases. These sources are comprehensive and accurate. We also review, update and augment our data as necessary.

How often is our data updated?

Our data is updated very frequently. During launches it tends to be updated multiple times an hour, outside launches it tends to be updated a few times per day (as and when new information becomes available).

What launches are included on the site?

All orbital launch attempts are included on our website, however for a suborbital launch to be considered for inclusion it must be livestreamed and meet at least one of the following criteria:

  • Target an apogee of at least 100 km
  • Carry crew higher than 80 km
  • Draw significant public interest

Are suborbital launches included in statistics?

Yes, and no. We think suborbital space launches are relevant, and are of interest to majority of people, so they should be included in our statistics and annual recaps. Unfortunately the definition of a suborbital space launch can be blurry, as it's hard to pin down the exact point at which the earth's atmosphere ends and space starts. It's also a lot trickier to to track all suborbital launches, because the data is generally not as available and as standardised as with orbital launches.

Our solution has been to include notable suborbital launches (meeting the criteria above) in our statistics, whilst providing orbital purists with the option to filter these out (via toggle). We think this approach provides the best balance of overall relevancy vs statistical accuracy.

Why do some launches retain a 'In Flight' status after deployment?

After a successful liftoff, a launch will retain the 'In Flight' status until there is a confirmed signal reception from the primary payload. If this isn't available, such as when there are multiple payloads (rideshare) or the payloads are classified, then the launch is deemed successful only when the launch service provider counts it as such, typically following the payload deployment.

What is a Launch Service Provider (LSP)?

A Launch Service Provider (LSP) is a space agency or company that operates a launch (in the economics sense). It is not always the operator of the rocket, but is the entity responsible for the launch from the perspective of customers.

How are Notable Achievement dated?

Notable Achievement dates are based on the specific date the achievement is recognised to have occurred, not the launch date of the associated mission, which in some cases can by many years prior.

How accurate are launch Destination values?

Most destination values are very accurate. However, we currently have just one destination value associated with a specific launch, which tends to be the ultimate destination of the mission in question. For most missions this is fine, however some missions have multiple destinations, meaning relevant details are lost. We plan to rectify this in the future, and enable launches to be associated with multiple destinations - for example, a mission could conduct a Jupiter flyby whilst also escaping the solar system at a later date (e.g. Voyager 1), and both of these destinations would be associated with the launch.