The National Academies

ACRP 02-85 [Final]

Commercial Space Vehicle Emissions Modeling

  Project Data
Funds: $449,973
Research Agency: Blue Ridge Research and Consulting
Principal Investigator: Michael James
Effective Date: 6/1/2018
Completion Date: 11/30/2020

Commercial space activity is entering a period of strong growth as operators are now regularly flying missions to the International Space Station, deploying satellites, conducting suborbital flights, and gearing up for space tourism.  While operations are currently located at just a few facilities, the number of launch sites is expected to grow.  Commercial space vehicle operations generate emissions, yet there are no formal, standardized procedures for estimating these emissions, and very limited data.  A method is needed that would allow practitioners to estimate emissions in a consistent manner, and since the FAA’s Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT) is the standard model for estimating airport-related emissions, it is desirable for a method to be compatible with AEDT.
The objective of this research is to develop a method to estimate emissions from commercial space vehicle operations. The method should:
  • Allow users to estimate emissions for existing and emerging commercial space vehicles, engines, and propellants;
  • Allow users to estimate emissions both below and above the mixing height;
  • Be incorporated into a simple (e.g., spreadsheet) emissions estimator tool to allow for easy estimations; and
  • Be designed with the intent to be integrated with AEDT.


Research is complete.  The results are published as Web-Only Document 51.

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