Date of Award

Spring 2022

Degree Type



School of Journalism and Mass Communications

Director of Thesis

Jungmi Jun

First Reader

Jessica H. Brown


In recent years, space travel has become less of a vision for select individuals in the field of research and is now on the cusp of becoming an experience available to paying customers. The purpose of this study is to determine Twitter users’ perceptions of SpaceX during the COVID-19 pandemic period from March 2020 to December 2021. We identified Twitter sentiment and emotions regarding such a new and abstract notion of a service that could be more widely available in the future. To achieve these goals, we collected tweets related to SpaceX using Brandwatch – a tool allowing the search of content from multiple social media platforms, including Twitter, as well as artificial intelligence-based analytics of audience sentiments (positive, negative and neutral) and emotions (joy, fear, anger, disgust, neutral, sadness and surprise). Data was analyzed to estimate (1) the distribution of positive, negative, and neutral sentiments towards SpaceX, (2) distribution of seven emotions (joy, fear, anger, disgust, neutral, sadness, surprise), (3) specific events/figures associated with peaks in positive/negative sentiments and emotions, and (4) authors in terms of their type (experts vs. non-experts), number of tweet posts, and the influence. Statistical analysis was conducted to examine the relationship between the variables. We found that most tweets (66.25%) showed neutral sentiment regarding SpaceX; however, positive sentiment (27.41%) appeared more frequently than negative sentiment (6.34%). Tweets expressing an opinion about SpaceX garnered significantly fewer impressions compared to neutral posts, and there was no statistical significance of positive or negative sentiment based on the author type - experts vs. nonexperts. A greater number of authors were nonexperts (83.32%); however, the tweets by experts generated 96.9% more impressions than those by nonexperts.

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