Unclear environmental impact of space launches

The article “Space transportation’s pollution conundrum” (January 2022) demonstrates the importance of perception over facts. However, we should be informing our members of the facts to combat misperceptions. The shift from a few launches per year to potentially thousands per year is startling and has us wondering about the impact to our environment. However, solid rockets and those burning kerosene are unlikely to be part of this future. Methane and hydrogen are the fuels of choice. So will there be a pollution problem from these rockets? The author offers no evidence for such but does quote an environmental researcher’s opinion on space tourism.

James H. Sloan

AIAA Senior member

Carson, California


Unclear environmental impact of space launches