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Visualized: Which Countries are Dominating Space?

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Visualized: Which Countries are Dominating Space?

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Visualized: Which Countries are Dominating Space

Believe it or not, there is a lot of stuff in space. In fact, our atmosphere is filled with more than 11,000 objects that have been launched since the foray into space began.

The Space Race started during the Cold War, and early on the Soviet Union dominated when it came to the amount of devices and objects launched into our atmosphere. But a few years ago, the U.S. took back that title with Elon Musk’s SpaceX helping lead the charge.

This visual, using data from Our World in Data, breaks down the amount of objects launched into space by country over time.

What Gets Launched Into Space?

What are the objects being sent into our atmosphere and why are they so important? Here’s a look at just a few:

  • Satellites
  • Crewed spacecraft
  • Probes
  • Space station flight equipment

Probes and landers like the Mars Rover, for example, have helped scientists explore other planets. Satellites provide us with everyday necessities like cell phone service, far reaching television signals, satellite imagery, and GPS.

As of late 2021, there were around 4,852 operational satellites in orbit2,944 belonging to the United States. Here’s a quick look at what the U.S. uses its satellites for:

  • Commercial: 2,516
  • Military: 230
  • Government: 168
  • Civil: 30

Many satellites in orbit, however, are no longer functional. In fact, there is a lot of junk in space—according to NASA, there are over 27,000 pieces of space debris in orbit.

The Space Race, by Country

The venture into outer space began during the Cold War when the USSR launched the first satellite, Sputnik 1 in 1957. After this, the U.S. and Soviet Union entered a definitive competition between technological advancements and scientific exploration into space—an extension of the battle between political ideologies.

Few countries have come close in matching either the U.S. or Russia so far. Here’s a look at the cumulative number of objects different countries have launched into orbit and beyond.

RankCountry Cumulative Number of Objects Launched into Space
#1🇺🇸 United States5,534
#2🇷🇺 Russia3,611
#3🇨🇳 China 731
#4🇬🇧 UK 515
#5🇯🇵 Japan 300
#6🇫🇷 France130
#7🇮🇳 India 127
#8🇩🇪 Germany 114
#9🇨🇦 Canada 82
#10🇱🇺 Luxembourg53
#11🇮🇹 Italy52
#12🇰🇷 South Korea43
#13🇧🇷 Brazil 39
#14🇦🇺 Australia 36
#15🇧🇪 Belgium36
#16🇮🇱 Israel 30
#17🇪🇸 Spain29
#18🇺🇾 Uruguay 23
#19🇮🇩 Indonesia21
#20🇦🇷 Argentina20
#21🇸🇪 Sweden19
#22🇲🇽 Mexico18
#23🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia17
#24🇦🇪 United Arab Emirates17
#25🇹🇼 Taiwan17
#26🇫🇮 Finland 17
#27🇹🇷 Turkey16
#28🇨🇭 Switzerland15
#29🇹🇭 Thailand14
#30🇳🇿 New Zealand14
#31🇳🇴 Norway14
#32🇳🇱 Netherlands13
#33🇩🇰 Denmark12
#34🇪🇬 Egypt9
#35🇰🇿 Kazakhstan9
#36🇲🇾 Malaysia 9
#37🇱🇹 Lithuania9
#38🇺🇦 Ukraine8
#39🇵🇱 Poland8
#40🇻🇳 Vietnam7
#41🇵🇭 Philippines7
#42🇨🇿 Czechia7
#43🇩🇿 Algeria 6
#44🇮🇷 Iran 6
#45🇵🇰 Pakistan6
#46🇳🇬 Nigeria 5
#47🇿🇦 South Africa 5
#48🇭🇺 Hungary 5
#49🇻🇪 Venezuela4
#50🇵🇪 Peru 4
#51🇨🇱 Chile 4
#52🇲🇦 Morocco3
#53🇦🇿 Azerbaijan3
#54🇬🇷 Greece3
#55🇪🇪 Estonia3
#56🇧🇾 Belarus3
#57🇧🇬 Bulgaria3
#58🇦🇹 Austria3
#59🇨🇴 Colombia2
#60🇪🇨 Ecuador 2
#61🇰🇵 North Korea2
#62🇧🇩 Bangladesh2
#63🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea2
#64🇸🇰 Slovakia 2
#65🇸🇮 Slovenia2
#66🇬🇭 Ghana 1
#67🇪🇹 Ethiopia1
#68🇰🇪 Kenya 1
#69🇷🇼 Rwanda 1
#70🇦🇴 Angola 1
#71🇬🇹 Guatemala1
#72🇨🇷 Costa Rica1
#73🇧🇴 Bolivia1
#74🇵🇾 Paraguay1
#75🇲🇳 Mongolia1
#76🇹🇲 Turkmenistan1
#77🇯🇴 Jordan1
#78🇶🇦 Qatar 1
#79🇱🇰 Sri Lanka 1
#80🇳🇵 Nepal 1
#81🇧🇹 Bhutan 1
#82🇱🇦 Laos1
#83🇱🇻 Latvia1
#84🇷🇴 Romania1
#85🇲🇨 Monaco1
#86🇵🇹 Portugal1

One important disclaimer here is that not all of these countries have orbital launch capabilities, meaning that although the satellite in space may belong to a certain country, that doesn’t mean that it was launched by said country. For example, the UK’s first launch in 1971 was out of Australia and France’s first launch took place in Algeria in 1965.

In total, around 86 countries have attempted some kind of entry into space. However, as of 2022, only 11 countries have the ability to send objects into space using their own launch vehicles, and only three—the U.S., Russia, and China—have ever launched people into outer space.

The Future of Space

With corporations beginning to take the lead in this new frontier, the landscape of space launches is changing. In 2019 Starlink, a constellation of satellites which provides 36 countries with internet access, was launched. With over 2,200 Starlink satellites in the sky and counting, SpaceX’s ultimate goal is global internet coverage; China is planning a similar venture.

Beyond useful satellites and scientific exploration, other potential space industries are emerging.

As one example, the business of commercial space tourism is no longer a futuristic concept. In late 2021, famous billionaire and founder of Virgin Galactic, Richard Branson flew briefly into space on a private flight. Jeff Bezos, having founded Blue Origin, followed shortly after.

Today, both Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic are licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration for passenger space travel. However, if you want to be launched into space, it will cost you around $250,000-$500,000.

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Misc

Chart: Which Countries Eat the Most Instant Noodles?

The top ranked country ate about 30 instant noodle servings per person in 2023, at a rate of slightly more than two helpings a month.

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A cropped chart showing the number of instant noodle servings consumed by country in 2023.

Chart: Which Countries Eat the Most Instant Noodles?

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

The world collectively consumed 120 billion instant noodle servings in 2023. But which countries ate the most?

We visualize the country-level breakdown with estimated figures from the World Instant Noodles Association (WINA).

ℹ️ Established in March 1997, WINA collects and distributes data related to instant noodles for safe consumption and quality.

Ranked: Countries by their Instant Noodle Consumption

Unsurprisingly, the now second-most populous country in the world, China, (along with Hong Kong SAR) ate about 42 billion instant noodle servings in 2023. This works out to about 30 noodle helpings per person in the year.

RankCountryRegionInstant Noodle
Servings Consumed
1🇨🇳 China and
🇭🇰 Hong Kong
Asia42.2B
2🇮🇩 IndonesiaAsia14.5B
3🇮🇳 IndiaAsia8.7B
4🇻🇳 VietnamAsia8.1B
5🇯🇵 JapanAsia5.8B
6🇺🇸 U.S.North America5.1B
7🇵🇭 PhilippinesAsia4.4B
8🇰🇷 South KoreaAsia4.0B
9🇹🇭 ThailandAsia4.0B
10🇳🇬 NigeriaAfrica3.0B
11🇧🇷 BrazilSouth America2.6B
12🇷🇺 RussiaEurope/Asia2.2B
N/A🌍 Rest of WorldOther15.6B

Staying in Asia, Indonesia (14.5 billion servings), India (8.7 billion), Vietnam (8.1 billion) and Japan (5.8 billion) make up the top five.

The U.S. is the top ranked country by instant noodle consumption (5.1 billion servings) from outside Asia. There are also only two non-Asian countries in the top 10, with the other being Nigeria (3 billion portions).

Russia is the top ranked European country for instant noodle consumption, 12th overall with 2.2 billion servings.

Noodle Preferences Around the World

There’s a large variety in instant noodle brands worldwide, catering to different populations’ specific cultural and dietary habits.

For example, given Indonesia’s largely Muslim population, most noodle products are halal.

On the other hand, vegetable and tomato-based soups are eaten the most in India due to its large vegetarian population.

Meanwhile, Vietnam prefers a shrimp-flavored broth along with pho rice noodles, which are popular in the country.

To end with a fun fact, instant noodles sold in the U.S. are generally cut shorter due to most people eating them with a spoon and/or fork.

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