In a study conducted recently, it has been estimated that the amount of soot emitted in a decade of commercial space flight would be similar to the amounts currently produced by the global aviation industry.

The author of this study, Martin Ross, who is an atmospheric scientist at the Aerospace Corporation in Los Angeles, says that “There are fundamental limits to how much material human beings can put into orbit without having a significant impact,”

The impact (as described by the findings of the study) was published in the Geophysical Research Letters, and suggested that the emissions of 1000 private rocket launches in a year will remain in the stratosphere while changing the global atmospheric circulation and the distribution of ozone as well. According to simulations conducted, these changes to the Earth’s climate will further result in the increase of the polar surface temperatures by 1 degree Celsius and will reduce the polar sea ice by 5-15 %.

The primary reason for the formation of black carbon or the soot is due to the fact that commercial rockets use a mixture of kerosene and liquid oxygen as fuel, and in recent developments, they intend to use an economic rocket engine that uses synthetic hydrocarbon with nitrous oxide. Unfortunately, this new hybrid engine will result in greater black carbon emissions, which could have implications for the increase in global temperatures.

With the private space industry maturing rapidly, it is estimated that over the next three years, there will be at least two rocket launches a day (which means more soot emissions in the stratosphere) for space tourists by companies such as Virgin Galactic from the Las Cruces launch site in New Mexico.And while Ross and his team intend to support scientists, engineers and other members of the private space industry so that it can grow normally, what remains to be seen is if these findings can bring about a change in the industry of private space flights.