Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It Adds Up

Virgin Galactic SpaceshipTwo

Virgin Galactic is planning several flights per day for the next decade!  This is fantastic and would no doubt lead to orbital operations.  But I am wondering: What does the rocket do the stratosphere?  I am not even sure that VG has spelled out , exactly,  the propellants.  We know it is a nitrous oxide based hybrid but perhaps the fuel has aluminium?  Something else? 
So the propellant is, let's guess, 10 tons per flight.  All of it emitted into the stratosphere.  Now VG is talking on the order of 1000 flights per year.   Now lets assume an ODP of 0.5 - about like old fashioned SRMs.  Thus we have 5000 ODP-tons per year.   Is that a lot?  I think it is. 

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