Commercial space activity is entering a period of strong growth as operators are now regularly flying missions to the International Space Station, deploying satellites, 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 air emissions during the launch and landing phases of flight; yet there are no formal, standardized modeling procedures and only very limited data for estimating emissions from commercial space activity. The anticipated growth of the commercial space industry indicates a need for a formal space vehicle emissions model and a need to standardize emissions analysis. Since the FAA’s Aviation Environmental Design Tool (AEDT) is the standard model for estimating airport-related emissions, it is logical that it should be enhanced to account for commercial space activity. By giving AEDT users access to space vehicle emissions modeling tools, a number of benefits would result. First, the procedures for space vehicle emissions modeling would become widely used and eventually standardized. Second, emissions data for each vehicle/engine would be contained in a standard, expandable database. And third, by implementing the space vehicle emissions model in AEDT, emissions could be predicted for space vehicle operations, and, when appropriate, combined with aircraft emissions (e.g., at joint use facilities).
The objectives of this research are to develop (1) a space vehicle emissions modeling methodology that is compatible with AEDT, (2) a database of emissions products for current vehicles, and (3) guidelines for conducting commercial space operation emissions studies.