Space tourism: Rockets emit 100 times more CO₂ per passenger than flights - imagine a whole industry
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Space tourism: Rockets emit 100 times more CO₂ per passenger than flights – imagine a whole industry

The commercial race to get tourists to space is heating up between Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson and former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. On Sunday 11 July, Branson ascended 80 km to reach the edge of space in his piloted Virgin Galactic VSS Unity spaceplane. Bezos’ autonomous Blue Origin rocket was launched on July 20, coinciding with the anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing.

The launch demonstrated their offering to very wealthy tourists: the opportunity to truly reach outer space. Both tour packages will provide passengers with a brief ten-minute frolic in zero gravity and glimpses of Earth from space. Not to be outdone, Elon Musk’s SpaceX will provide four to five days of orbital travel with its Crew Dragon capsule later in 2021.

What are the environmental consequences of a space tourism industry likely to be? Bezos boasts his Blue Origin rockets are greener than Branson’s VSS Unity.


The Blue Engine 3 (BE-3) used liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen propellants. VSS…

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