Changes at Aerospace America; applying science to rocket pollution


First, if you’re a masthead watcher, you’ll notice that we have a new associate editor, Cat Hofacker. As our staff reporter for two years, Cat dug into the aerospace beat and took a strong interest in editing and production. She is ready to replace Karen Small, who retired in December after a career of helping bring many great works of journalism to the public, from reports about public corruption by the Tennessean newspaper in Nashville to dispatches from the war zones by the reporters of Army Times Publishing Co., now Sightline Media, to our coverage of aircraft and space technologies for the future. Karen’s retirement is a well-earned one. Now, with Cat’s promotion, we’ll be hiring a staff reporter to dig into the innovation in aerospace that’s coming in 2022 and beyond. 

Turning to the current issue of the magazine, one of the last things I do during production is clear my head and experience our cover art and text as a reader would. In this month’s cover piece, our contributor Alyssa Tomlinson unearthed some interesting facts and insights about what the coming revolution in space transportation could mean for the health of our atmosphere. On the surface, it’s a story about the need to anticipate the effects of pollution, but at another level, it’s a story about society’s opportunity to get the next transportation revolution right, rather than being shocked later by its expensive consequences.

Tomlinson gives voice to proposals to apply science to the problem and points us to a potential solution, although it’s one that might or might not prove acceptable to launch companies operating in a free market. As for the technology, I came away wondering just how far the present approaches of stringing together lots of conventional engines or recovering rocket stages can go toward the stated goals of expanding humanity into the solar system without ruining Earth. 

Therein lie the next stories. 

Related Topics

Rocket Propulsion

Ben Iannotta

About Ben Iannotta

Ben keeps the magazine and its news coverage on the cutting edge of journalism. He began working for the magazine in the 1990s as a freelance contributor and became editor-in-chief in 2013. He was editor of C4ISR Journal and has written for Air & Space Smithsonian, New Scientist, Popular Mechanics, Reuters and Space News.

Changes at Aerospace America; applying science to rocket pollution