Pollution from SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic's rockets could harm human health as well as Earth's climate, study says
- Fumes from
SpaceXand Blue Origin's rockets could harm healthand the climate, a study showed.
- It said the concentration of nitrogen oxides released by a
rocketwas "hazardous to human health."
The pollution from rockets built by SpaceX, Blue Origin, and
"Atmospheric pollution from rockets," published Tuesday in the journal Physics of Fluids, digitally modelled the exhaust gases coming from a standard rocket, similar to one of SpaceX's reusable Falcon 9s, at various altitudes.
The increase in rocket launches by commercial
The study found that the concentration of nitrogen oxides, which an ascending rocket releases into two cubic kilometers of atmospheric air, was considered "hazardous to human health" under the World Health Organization's (WHO) standards.
"The impact on the atmosphere will be a crucial factor requiring careful consideration in the design of future rocket launches," the study's authors, Ioannis Kokkinakis and Dimitris Drikakis, wrote.
As the number of commercial rocket rides climb, the consequent pollution in the atmosphere must be looked into, the authors added.
A Blue Origin spokesperson told Insider that the New Shepard rocket is "fueled by highly efficient and clean liquid oxygen and hydrogen" and the only byproduct is "water vapor with no carbon emissions."
Blue Origin is planning its fifth human flight to the edge of space in May after already launching its resuable New Shepard rocket in March. Its first mission to launch humans to space was in July when Bezos and his brother were passengers onboard.
Meanwhile, Virgin Galactic said it's planning to ramp up tourist flights next year, aiming to send customers to space three times per month with its reusable rocket.
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