How Blue Origin, SpaceX, Virgin Galactic Space Race Might Affect the Atmosphere

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The space industry is re-launching after decades of stagnation.
After Elon Musk’s SpaceX and China’s 114 orbital launches in 2018, the development in space programs have been fast. This is the first triple-digit launch since 1990.

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Additionally, the orbital launches will soon exceed 130 for the first time since the ’70s and this count excludes the suborbital tourism excursion that Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic intended to launch soon.

On one hand, NASA plans for a lunar return and SpaceX is constructing a massive “mega constellation” made up of massive internet satellites to provide internet for the whole world. On the other hand, China is crewing a space station and they’ll be sending crews of tourists to the edge of space and this might become the new tourism in the future.
But how will this impact the planet?

“While we do obviously need space launches and satellites when it comes to things like space tourism, you start thinking about the environmental impact,” says Ian Whittaker, a lecturer in space physics at Nottingham Trent University in the U.K.