Increasing numbers of space launches will put more black carbon high in the atmosphere, where it can trap heat from the sun
15 June 2022
As more and more rockets are launched into space, the pollution they emit could have a growing effect on Earth’s atmosphere and weather systems.
Many rockets today use kerosene, which is burned with an oxidiser – liquid oxygen – to produce thrust. This includes SpaceX’s Falcon 9, currently the most frequently launched rocket in the world, responsible for 31 of the 135 successful launches globally in 2021.
A by-product of this process is black carbon, soot-like grains thrown out in the …