Background


The AIAA
convened a workshop to identify and quantify the key environmental issues
that relate to the effects on the atmosphere of rocket testing and use,
and to recommend actions to resolve the issues. Communities represented at
the workshop included rocket propulsion engineers, environmental
scientists, environmental regulatory agencies, and environmental
action groups.


Based on
careful evaluation of scientific studies performed in the U.S., Europe,
and the Soviet Union, the workshop concluded that the effects of rocket
propulsion on stratospheric ozone depletion, acid rain, toxicity, air
quality, and global warming were minuscule compared to other anthropogenic
impacts.

Nevertheless it was agreed that environmental concerns should become a
major consideration in the design, development, and use of future rocket
propulsion systems, and that every reasonable effort should be made to
reduce undesirable environmental effects.


Also, both
the data and the analytical models used to reach conclusions on the
effects of rocket propulsion on the atmosphere need substantial
improvement to attain satisfactory confidence levels. Further, it was
agreed that due to the global nature of the issues the necessary research,
formulation of standards and regulations, and efforts to reduce
environmental effects be conducted on an international basis.


Specific
research areas detailed by the workshop include improving atmospheric
modeling, data gathering, and methods for monitoring environmental
changes. These improvements should focus on heterogeneous and
non-equilibrium chemistry, three-dimensional * I modeling, and full characterization
of rocket exhaust plumes and  afterburning.


In addition
to incorporating environmental considerations on an equal level with
performance, cost, and reliability criteria from system conception to
operation, potential avenues for consideration in future propulsion
systems include formulation, testing, and demonstration of new and
modified propellants, changing system operating parameters, modifying test
facilities and protocols, and relocating test and launch facilities.


However, it
is essential to conduct detailed analyses of the costs, the benefits, and
the risks of implementing such actions to ensure that safety and
reliability are not compromised, that economics receive proper
consideration, and that the actions 4 taken do indeed reduce undesirable effects
on the environment.


Declassified Document



 Atmospheric
Effects of Chemical Rocket Propulsion, October 1991
[89 Pages, 5.5MB]

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