Although rocket launches are a spectacular display of human creativity as they propel us forward into the future, there is increasing concern that not enough research has been done on their environmental impact.
Although some may be concerned about possible greenhouse gas emissions, this is not the primary concern. Instead, it’s ozone depletion and its possible consequences in our upper atmosphere, especially the stratosphere, as well as fears about toxic fuels.
According to Martin Ross, an atmospheric scientist at The Aerospace Corporation, the issue has gone unnoticed because people still consider rocket launches to be uncommon.
But, as he put it, “it’s time to face the possibility that we might be entering a boom age.”
The air is thick with a black spot. The stratosphere is a vital weather engine for Earth’s structures, and it’s where certain rocket-related particles end up.
The stratosphere also contains the ozone layer, which helps shield us from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. After it was discovered that toxic ozone-depleting compounds, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), used in items like refrigerators and air conditioners, were destroying the ozone layer, the Montreal Protocol was signed into law in 1990. Although the protocol mentioned airlines, nothing about the aerospace industry was mentioned.
However, some industry analysts are worried that we might be in for a challenge if there is no oversight.
Rocket propellants come in a variety of forms. There are also others that contain alumina particles in the stratosphere, such as solid rocket boosters, which were used in previous shuttle launches and are still used by several launch companies today.
Finally, certain substances, such as kerosene used in SpaceX’s Falcon 9 and Russia’s Soyuz rockets, deposit black soot in the stratosphere.
Experts are most concerned about the alumina and black soot.