Credit: Center for Space Policy and Strategy

The Policy and Science of Rocket Emissions is a new space policy paper from The Aerospace Corporation’s Center for Space Policy and Strategy. Authors Martin Ross and James Vedda consider the effects of rocket emissions in the atmosphere—what is known, and what is not.

“Rocket emissions inherently impact the stratosphere in a way that no other industrial activity does. This is a fundamental aspect of placing payloads into space using chemical propulsion,” explains the report.

Rocket emissions have largely escaped the scrutiny of international regulatory bodies—but that can change at any time, the just issued paper explains. New policies and regulations could be prompted by a general shift in public perception, by an unintended connection to climate-engineering debates, and by a switch to new propellant types.

Credit: Center for Space Policy and Strategy

Effluent influences

As explained in the report, rockets directly inject combustion products (most importantly, particles) into the stratosphere—a particularly sensitive region that is home to the ozone layer. These emissions deplete the ozone and alter the radiative balance of the atmosphere, the authors say. As a result, they contribute to the complex interactions that determine global climate.

Although the effects are still minor compared with other ozone and climate influences, they could assume much greater significance in the years ahead, with launch rates expected to increase dramatically.

Take a read of this new, important paper at:

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