The Staggering Mass of the Craft We've Sent Into Space, Visualised

By Jamie Condliffe on at

Ever tried to picture how much one rocket weighs compared to another, or how heavy some of the craft orbiting our planet really are? Well this chart explains all.

Put together by XKCD's Randall Munroe, the chart visualises the changing mass of spacecraft over time, from the first Sputnik launches to the future SLS Block craft.

True, they are all measured in the standardised units of horses, but that's actually quite useful for visualising things in the smaller examples — and if anything it's the relative scales that are most interesting here. Apart, perhaps, from this:

"With a space elevator, a backyard full of solar panels could launch about 500 horses per year, and a large power plant could launch 10 horses per minute."

C'mon then, let's build that thing. [XKCD]

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