Neo4J: Loading rocket data in a graph database

When I first learned about graph databases, like Neo4J, I didn’t get it. That’s how I always start with new technology: not getting at all why people getting so enthusiastic about them. Then I read “Seven Databases in Seven Weeks, 2nd edition” (as reviewed in January). It describes Neo4J as a “whiteboard friendly”. Any diagram with boxes and lines you could draw on a whiteboard, can be stored in Neo4J. After reading the first paragraphs about Neo4J, I totally got why graph databases are very interesting.

As usual, I started following a course on Neo4J to get acquainted with the product. Well there was a course on Neo4J on and I followed it. But it was 3 years old and some of the code it teached, is already obsolete. So the less I say about that, the better. But I did learn some Cypher, the language used in Neo4J, and I later learned the more modern versions of the commands to get stuff done.

Next phase: do a project with it. It took me some time to think of interesting astronomy or space related data in it. Eventually I stumbled on a dataset that has been around and maintained for a long time. At least since I discovered when I just got on the Internet around 1993. It’s called Jonathan’s Space Page now. And the maintainer, Jonathan McDowell, still keeps the list of orbital space launches and list of satellites ever launched quite up to date.

And eventually I did manage to load this data in Neo4J and here is my video about that:


You can download Neo4J Desktop here:

You can find my Python and Cypher code here:

Let me know if you want me to go in depth on the code used in this video.


This entry was posted in Active Learning, Howto, NoSQL and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *