ESG strategy

I want to be pro-active on this topic. You all know that rockets burn a lot of fuel, hence they are perceived as very environmentally unfriendly. The whole space tourism industry is often perceived as rich-boys playground and a waste of valuable resources. Space projects of the past were notoriously infamous due to huge costs over-runs.

I want to discuss these topics so that there is clarity on the harm these projects may cause, and what can be done to prevent or minimise that.

  • Some of the space rockets operate on liquid hydrogen – liquid oxygen. When hydrogen burns in oxygen the main exhaust is water, no CO2.
  • Future giant rockets – Space X Starship and Blue Origin New Glen – will use liquid-oxygen – methane propellant. This pair will produce a lot of CO2, but no soot (which is believed to be harmful to the ozone layer).
  • Space Industry (state-run or commercial) is our only hope in case we notice an Earth-killer asteroid in time. So, it may be our ultimate E in the ESG strategy – it can save all humans and many other life form. If we can not divert such asteroid, perhaps we can try to live elsewhere – on another planet or on space-stations, either way space industry is our only hope.
  • Space Industry is our only hope to even notice the Earth-killer asteroid in time. Apparently in half of the cases we don’t even see them coming. And this is really scary. I try to attend Asteroid Day events to learn more.
  • Commerical space projects, like Space X and Blue Origin have introduced reusable spacecraft and boosters, which should significantly decrease the cost of sending payloads to space. By a factor of 10, or even more so.
  • Some stratospheric projects use helium as lifting gas – that’s a neutral gas, causes no harm to the environment. However, there is a limited amount of helium on Earth and it is used in medical equipment, like MRI scanners.
  • Another gas which is used in stratospheric adventures is hydrogen, which causes no harm to environment. We still need to learn for to manufacture it in “green” mode in large quantities.
  • The cycle of aircraft operations at skydiving drop-zones is short, so may be one of the first markets for electric or fuel-cell powered aircraft.
  • Space Exploration has brought and will bring immense benefits to humankind, and we always need to remember this:
    • Satellite navigation (which among other benefits has optimised travel, so helping to decrease CO2 emissions of the global transport industry)
    • Weather forecasts (which saved many lives)
    • Communication, in all forms, from internet to TV to satellite phones
    • Observation and surveillance, including defence applications
    • Space race of the 60s has put computer industry into play, so the smartphone in our pocket is a spin-off from those days
    • Manufacturing in space (hopefully will soon become a reality)
    • Energy from space (still in the future, but may be coming soon)
  • However, once space industry goes into high gear, here are the issues which are to be watched carefully:
    • CO2 pollution (and other harmful gasses)
    • damage to the ozone layer
    • blocking the skies for astronomers
    • irresponsible use of space resources, incl. Moon and Mars
    • monopolisation of space by several large companies and countries
    • militarisation of space

Useful links & info