• 21 hours Electric Vehicle Rebound Bolsters Battery Metal Growth
  • 2 days BlackRock Makes A Run On Asian Stocks
  • 2 days Gold Prices Surge Above $1,800
  • 3 days Chinese Stocks Soar On Bullish Economic Data
  • 3 days Apple’s “Holy Grail Of Data” Leaves Energy Traders Disappointed
  • 3 days Gold Rally Adds $250 Billion To Top 50 Miners' Market Cap
  • 4 days TikTok Is Becoming A New Battleground For Tech Politics
  • 4 days Peru's Mining Industry Pummeled As Coronavirus Cases Surge
  • 4 days Why The World Is So Divided In Its COVID-19 Response
  • 5 days Equities Cheer Stellar Jobs Report, But It May Be Fleeting
  • 6 days Is Tech Billionaire Peter Thiel Done With Trump?
  • 6 days Musk Takes To Twitter To Troll The SEC
  • 7 days Lunar Mining May Commence As Early As 2025
  • 8 days Immigration Will Go Bust Without $1.2B Bailout
  • 8 days The Economics Of The Space Race
  • 9 days Why The World's Central Banks Aren't Yet Sold On Renewables
  • 10 days How Much More Cash Can Uber Burn?
  • 10 days Inside The Biggest Counterfeit Gold Scandal In Recent History
  • 10 days EU-U.S. Trade Relations Are Deteriorating
  • 11 days Over 184 Companies Have Bailed On Facebook
Why The World Is So Divided In Its COVID-19 Response

Why The World Is So Divided In Its COVID-19 Response

The Covid-19 pandemic should have…

BlackRock Makes A Run On Asian Stocks

BlackRock Makes A Run On Asian Stocks

On Monday, BlackRock downgraded U.S.…

Is Tech Billionaire Peter Thiel Done With Trump?

Is Tech Billionaire Peter Thiel Done With Trump?

Thiel reportedly projects that the…

Josh Owens

Josh Owens

Writer, Safehaven.com

Josh majored in International Relations at the University of Edinburgh and is currently the Content Director at Oilprice.com. Josh has over 6 years of writing…

Contact Author

  1. Home
  2. News
  3. Breaking News

The Trillion Dollar Space Race Crosses Another Milestone

Space Race

On October 3rd, 1942, Germany’s V-2 A4 rocket became the first-ever man-made object to reach space. 15 years and one day later, the Sovie Union launched Sputnik into space, the first satellite. Then, after more than a decade’s wait, the Cold War-fueled space race saw Apollo 11 successfully send humanity to the moon. Now, in 2020, space has once again captured our imagination and multiple entrepreneurs are attempting to launch space tourism as a legitimate industry. Today, SpaceX will take a large step towards that goal when it becomes the first private company to launch astronauts up to the International Space Station. But in a world that has become obsessed with controlling its carbon footprint, the jump from NASA-funded space missions to tourism is a significant one.

Launching a rocket out of the atmosphere is not only an amazing feat of human engineering, but it is also an incredibly energy-intensive process. In order to break into space, the rocket, the fuel it’s carrying, and its payload have to counter both gravity and wind resistance. And while you may expect modern rockets to be able to do so more efficiently, the size of the payloads we are now attempting to send to the final frontier is growing exponentially. 

Heavy-lift launch vehicles are the latest craze in the space race, from Space X’s ‘Falcon Heavy’, to the United Launch Alliance’s ‘Vulcan’, and Blue Origin’s ‘New Glenn’. These new rockets will eventually aim to send tourists into space. To do so, these companies are creating machines to rival the largest rocket ever made.

The title for largest rocket ever made is still held by Saturn V, a 363-foot rocket with a thrust of 7.6 million pounds that successfully sent astronauts to the moon on the Apollo missions. It also holds the record for the largest payload ever sent into low earth orbit (LEO) at 260,000 pounds. The Falcon Heavy, which famously launched a Tesla Roadster into space in February 2018, has a maximum payload of 140,700 pounds. The major difference for the Falcon Heavy is that it is a reusable rocket and so its cost per launch is dramatically lower.

Related: COVID-19 Is A Hacker’s Paradise

But while the cost of flights may well be falling, the physics of sending a rocket beyond our atmosphere remains the same. So let’s look into the numbers for tomorrow’s launch of the Crew Dragon, which will be launched with a Falcon 9 rather than Falcon heavy. By the time it has reached orbit, the Falcon 9 will have burned through 112,184 kilograms of Rocket Propellant 1 fuel. Each kilogram of that fuel releases 3 kg of CO2, meaning 336,552 kg of CO2 released into the atmosphere. That makes the carbon footprint of today's record-breaking launch only slightly larger than that of a Boeing 747 flying from New York to London. The major difference, of course, is that it will only take about 12 minutes for the astronauts to reach LEO as opposed to the 7 and a half hours a flight from London to New York takes. 

Interestingly, Virgin Galactic claims that the carbon footprint of its passengers will be in line with that of a transatlantic business-class customer as its rockets will only burn for 60 seconds and its spaceships will be able to fly hundreds of times. ArianeGroup is even working on a carbon-neutral rocket that will run on methane produced from biomass. But currently, those rockets that have successfully launched are still burning through huge amounts of fuel. 

It seems that the dream of economically and environmentally feasible space tourism is still lightyears away, but tomorrow’s launch may bring us one step closer. 

By Josh Owens

More Top Reads From Safehaven.com:

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment