Aerospace-Plane Flights and Stratospheric Ozone

Review and Preliminary Assessment of the National Aerospace Plane (NASP) Operations

by David Shiao-Kung Liu


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The United States is engaged in a National Aerospace Plane program to develop an air-breathing single-stage-to-orbit vehicle, the X-30. This note provides estimates of stratospheric changes in water vapor and nitrogen oxide content in order to assess the effect on stratospheric ozone from an operational fleet of such vehicles. Assuming a fleet of 20, each making 10 flights a year, Liu finds that the effect on stratospheric ozone would be much smaller than other anthropogenic effects.

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