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Rocket-Carriers, Atmosphere and the Earth Surface


The Rocket-Carrier Launch from Cosmodrome "Baikonur" Influence on the Atmosphere and Earth Surface of the Kazakhstan Republic

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-APC/Air Pollution and Control/Environment
  • ENV-EHS/Environmental Health and Safety/Environment

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Infracos-Ecos, Kazakstan, Almaty

Supporting institutes

  • Institute of Applied Geophysics (Fedorov), Russia, Moscow\nInstitute of Measuring Systems, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., N. Novgorod\nInstitute of Atmospheric Physics, Russia, Moscow


  • University of Iowa, USA, IA, Iowa City\nUniversity of Uppsala / Department of Earth Science, Sweden, Uppsala\nMax-Planck-Institut fur Meteorologie, Germany, Hamburg

Project summary

The rocket-space activity is being kept in Kazakhstan for 50 years. During that period thousands of carrier rockets (CR) of “Soyuz” and “Proton” types had been launched. Man-caused influence of “Baykonour” start complex and Earth atmosphere disturbance caused by CR become apparent in different forms of atmosphere pollution by combustion products and in thermal action over atmosphere and underline surface pollution with propellant components and its sub products. No doubt that meteorological parameters play a very important role in transfer and precipitation of different pollutants descended from working rocket or used stage.

It is obvious that carrier rockets influence region weather and local climate. However it is difficult to expect any statically significant result due to energy estimates only and nowadays there are no data proving such connection. That is why such task was not paid much attention in scientific investigations. Nevertheless CR launches influence on weather in the cosmodrome region, especially in the Aral region, known due to insiccation of the Aral Sea, can’t be excluded absolutely. This phenomenon needs investigation to prove or refute opinion of nearby settlements about launch affection on weather.

Chemical atmospheric pollution by CR launching is determined by toxic propellant components and combustion and decay products during regular and irregular rejection, floods, and stage falls which contain propellant remains on earth surface. Physical CR launch affect is determined by warm, noise and other effects formation and isolation.

One of main objects of investigation is stratospheric ozone. Propellant combustion products like chlorine, nitrogen and hydrogen compounds interacting with it are related to minor atmospheric constituents. Stratospheric ozone is destroyed under photochemical reactions with water vapor, output during propellant combustion in liquid-propellant rockets as well as during reactions with nitrogen oxides formed of nitrogen and oxygen at high temperatures in rocket jets and chlorine and hydrogen chloride which are products of solid-rocket propellant combustion.

Maximum ozone layer exhaustion occurs along the rocket trajectory. In the rocket track, which diameter is several hundreds meters, ozone is fully destroyed. However the estimation of such decrease consequences for biologically active ultra-violet radiation at earth surface is needed.

Another aspect of injurious effect of rocket-space activity is environment pollution with propellant. In ecological aspect the most dangerous scenario of propellant components (PC) rejection is formation of mixed water and propellant drops falling down with precipitations.

When liquid propellant components fall into atmosphere the cloud is formed which contains both gas and condensed substances. The characteristics of last one are appreciably dependent on rejection scenario and air parameters. Dispersity is possibly connected with explosion energy and thermo-mechanical ambient air influence when PC mass splitting occurs under the influence of approach airflow or due to cavity formation inside liquid mass with PC vapor pressure excluding atmospheric one.

The time of derived components ingress in the atmospheric boundary layer is estimated at 2-4 hours (Granberg I.G., 2001). But behavior of other propellant components, asymmetric dimetilhydrazin in particular, is still not investigated. New investigations are needed for PC interaction with atmospheric vapor study and development of model and program module adaptation, taking of joined experiment for model validation with groups working on the ground and plane lidar sounding which ca give most exact information about cloud trajectory and admixtures concentration in it.

Project objectives

Complex investigation of carrier rockets launch from “Baykonour” cosmodrome influence on atmosphere and environment on the territory of Kazakhstan Republic, nearby to rocket-space complex “Baykonour” regions and stages fall fields for development of methods for estimation of CR influence and prediction and abatement of injurious effects of such influence.

Main project objectives:

· Review and analysis of scientific literature dedicated to rocket-space activity influence on the Earth atmosphere and creation of taken CR launches database and analysis of environment change characteristics in the Baykonour start complex region and regions of rocket stage falling.
· Complex field investigation of carrier rockets launches influence on atmosphere pollution and environment with propellant components, on the dynamics of circular processes at underlying surface and weather forming layer (in troposphere and lower stratosphere) over the regions nearby the “Baykonour” cosmodrome.
· Creation of model of gas-aerosol PC cloud motion distribution in the atmosphere.
· Development of special methods for propellant environment influence diagnostics in the regions nearby to Baykonour rocket-space complex and fields of rocket stage falls.
· Development of methods for rocket launches negative consequences prediction.
· Estimation of ozone layer changes caused by rocket launches and estimation of following biological active UV radiation dose change perceptible by surface organisms.
· Development of proposals for project results use in national and international programs for ecological researches and monitoring of environment pollution and rocket launches influence.
· Development of base for rocket-space activity regulation.

Expected results.

During project following results will be received

· Creation of data base for following aspects:
· Changes of atmosphere and underling surface characteristics in the regions of Baykonour start complex and regions of rocket stages falling caused by influence of rocket-space activity on Kazakhstan atmosphere.
· Weather condition on the republic territory during rocket launches.
· Environment pollution with propellant components at territories nearby to stage falls regions.
· Ozone layer condition over republic territory.
· Correlation between carrier rocket launches and weather and climatic characteristics change for Kazakhstan atmosphere.
· Estimation of space-temporal characteristics of propellant components rejection and experimental estimation of motion trajectory and distortion characteristics of PC cloud in atmosphere.
· Estimation of ozone concentration changes in the stratosphere and troposphere caused by rocket launches and its affection over biologically active radiation dose.
· Creation of model for PC gas-aerosol cloud motion distribution taking into account vapor and condensation and interaction with aerosol and atmospheric vapor and its verification.
· Development of prognostic methods for Baykonour CR launch influence on different environment aspects.
· Development of base for rocket-space activity regulation in Kazakhstan.

Institutes which have highly skilled stuff and solid experience in the field of CR launch effect on the atmosphere and environment, population health estimation will be involved in the project.

Specialists of Fedorov IPG and Sedakov Research Institute will be involved in the project. They were previously occupied in military researches and now their knowledge will be involved to environment protect problems.


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