•The environmental impact of space launches is becoming increasingly significant.
•Stratospheric ozone depletion is a key environmental concern for space launches.
•Environmental trade-offs exist between propellant types.
•Further study is required into the cumulative impact of launches.

With the increasing accessibility of commercial space flight, the environmental impacts of space launches will become increasingly significant in the coming years. Here, for the first time, a review is presented of the environmental impacts of space launches, specifically of emissions from commonly used solid and liquid rocket propellants. While there are a number of environmental impacts resulting from the launch of space vehicles, the depletion of stratospheric ozone is the most studied and most immediately concerning. Solid rocket motors are the subject of most of the environmental studies on rocket launches, while the now more commonly used liquid rocket propellants are underrepresented in the literature.

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.A. Dallas, S. Raval, J.P. Alvarez Gaitan, S. Saydam, A.G. Dempster, The environmental impact of emissions from space launches: A comprehensive review, Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 255, 2020, 120209, ISSN 0959-6526,

Share Source: Environmental Health Trust