The Negative Environmental Effects of the Space Race: Seeking Compromise

16th Sep 2021
The Negative Environmental Effects of the Space Race: Seeking Compromise

The billionaires’ space race has several different sides to one coin. First of all, it is an excellent booster for the industry as new technologies are being mastered. Plus, the economic impact is somewhat positive, too. Exports from countries like the UK are on the rise since they’ve tailored small satellite manufacturing and are ready to share their products with the world. In addition, plenty of new workplaces are appearing. Elon Musk’s SpaceX has about 10,000 employees and keeps growing. Even small companies dreaming of leading this space race one day can contribute to that.

How Billionaires See the Advantages of the Space Race

But the greatest advantage has been verbalised by the billionaires themselves. Jeff Bezos claimed that he and his company are building a future for the kids. Sir Richard Branson claims he’ll open up space for everybody. And Elon Musk says he brings hope for humans to be interplanetary and an opportunity to leave Earth, just in case. However, many skeptics believe that the space race leaders themselves might cause this ‘situation.’

The Reverse of the Coin: The Environment Suffers From the Space Race

The latest wave of outrage arose in July after Branson flew 86 km up to the boundary of space. The same month, Bezos got his first flight, too. Musk is the only one out of these three who has never done that, but he plans to this September. The point of opponents is that the pollution caused by private flights is incomparable to the ‘hope’ the billionaires try to sell. Annette Toivonen, a Finnish tourism lecturer at Haaga-Helia University, says this ‘Wild West’ attitude has to be stopped. The pollutants emitted by such launches ruin the ozone layer and cause global warming. The local environmental impacts are apparent too. So the experts demand international legislation that will control the space race.

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