Do rockets punch holes in the ozone layer?

Is the ozone layer compromised by rockets punching their way through it...
17 May 2009


Soviet Union postage stamp: Soviet rocket c. 1961, in honor of first man in space, Yuri A. Gagarin



Do rockets punch holes in the ozone layer?


Chris Smith - Well, Fran, we know that the major culprit for making holes in the ozone layer are chemicals called CFCs - chloro-fluoro carbons. These are agents that were used in aerosols - even in asthma inhalers - but also in fridges as refrigerants; they were used in huge amounts until the Montreal Treaty came in, in the late 80s to try and ban them.

What provoked that was that a group of scientists including Brian Gardner (who appeared here on The Naked Scientists a few years back) had actually noticed this massive hole opening up over Antarctica; this hole actually grew to be the size of Australia at its peak.

Luckily it did eventually stop growing, and it's actually beginning to shrink a little bit now and that's because we have stopped using these CFC chemicals.

The reason that they concentrate down in the Antarctic where the hole formed is because the Antarctic is an isolated continent. It's completely surrounded by ocean and this creates something called a circumpolar current, and this has a whirlpool-like effect on the air; this draws in and concentrates these CFC molecules over the Antarctic during winter, when it's very dark.

The CFCs then accumulate in high clouds over the Antarctic. When the sun comes out the following spring, UV in the sunlight attacks and breaks down the CFCs and they get turned into reactive chemicals that can react with ozone and deplete it. They are, by far, in a way the worst culprit.

As far as rockets are concerned, we don't send enough rockets and spaceships up into space to make a huge difference, I wouldn't have thought, in grand scheme of things.

So I think although we have to be environmentally conscious, the benefit of sending rockets into space in terms of what they can do for satellites and furthering research is far greater than the small bit of damage they might make to the ozone layer.


"Rocket launches by the year 2050 could result in more ozone destruction than was ever realized by CFCs" Darin Toohey, University of Colorado.

Not only that but pollution from the rockets also damages the atmosphere and is poisoning the entire population of Earth. That is no exaggeration. These dangers are grossly underestimated and shamefully played down. I had to post that even though I know no one is listening!

Please supply the relevant study data on which you base your claims; if you cannot do this, kindly retract your statement and desist from making such claims until you can substantiate them.

I would suggets rather than focusing on negative impacts on earth, a much more promising and positive approach is to look for solutions.
Regenerative and reforestation projects around the planet should be high on our list of priorities to solve the initial problems created by humans.
I live off grid with a small co2 footprint and constantly planting trees.
Can you imagine how the planet would change if only half of the city ppopulation turned to this lifestyle.

You're a liar, Chris. Rockets punch holes in ALL the layers. And when rockets are launched all the time the atmosphere is so damaged we lose our protective shield and Climate Change is ONE side effect. Grow up!

You've called me a liar, which is an appalling slur; that aside, you have made a sweeping statement unsupported by any kind of evidence or argumentation to back up the claim. 

Please supply the relevant study data on which you base your claims; if you cannot do this, kindly retract your statement - including calling me a liar - and desist from making such claims until you can substantiate them.

Ok Chris, you may not be lying. Perhaps it's denial. If I had evidence I'd be a world-class hacker. I know what I know based on my own research from that which is freely available. Anyone who thinks that rockets do nothing to the atmosphere is in denial. I'm not apologizing to you because even if you are not a liar you perpetuate the lies. I am not a conspiracy theorist, by the way, just someone with a brain that still works. Call it common sense!

I probably shouldn't justify your further contribution with an answer, but here goes anyway; in my answer above I say "As far as rockets are concerned, we don't send enough rockets and spaceships up into space to make a huge difference, I wouldn't have thought, in grand scheme of things."

In other words, compared with what else we are doing to damage the planet, and the atmosphere, rockets are not the key player. An old fashioned fridge, however, is a military grade weapon when it comes to the ozone layer...

I'm glad you brought that up. And at the risk of enraging you further or boring you with my ignorance, I must now unleash the dogs: There are many ways we have depleted or even destroyed our atmosphere and environment. Over 2,000 nuclear bomb tests since 1945, including at least one thermo-nuclear bomb, experiments on the ionosphere, carbon emissions, toxins, CFCs, jet fuel, etc, and now a constant blast of rockets. And I've recently read things about the components of rocket fuel that has blown my mind and diminished the romance of the moon landing. I won't try to recall it all now but for one, 304 tons of aluminium per rocket blast comes to mind. That, in itself, is not insignificant... In the past 20-30 years there had been a major increase in skin disorders, mostly of the itchy kind. Auto-immune diseases such as psoriasis, eczema, alopecia areata, (thinning and falling hair), and receding hairlines in women, post menopause, which was extremely rare but since the 1990s is now common, according to Prof. Ron Sinclair, Melbourne's leading dermatologist. He says "It's just appeared out of nowhere". And incidence of malenoma skin cancers has been increasing over the past decades, according to WHO and is said to be blamed on ozone depletion. There's been a "three-fold increase in atopic dermatitis" due to exposure to pollutants, according to the British Medical Bulletin. And auto-immune disorders such as thyroid diseases, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis are also common symptoms related to radiation exposure, interestingly, according to Military Medical Research. There has also been a dramatic increase in allergies, respiratory problems, sinus irritation, circulatory problems... And "Globally, the number of deaths due to cardiovascular diseases increased by 41% between 1990 and 2013" according to Science Daily... I could go on and on but I'll stop there. And as for this most important space exploration and research you speak so highly of, there are over 6,000 satellites up there which I think is insane, then all the space junk, and we have already started a buggy junkyard on Mars before we even get there. And, from what I understand, we've left rubbish on the moon as well. Then there's the state of our home planet. Hypothetically speaking, if I were a body of aliens overseeing Earth I would not let humans leave!

You've called me liar (and refused to apologise), but then acknowledged that was probably going a bit far. The question on this webpage is about rockets and the ozone layer; you produced a heap of unsubstantiated claims that I challenged and requested evidence to support. You didn't provide any and merely insulted me. Now you've produced a long stream of health-related claims that have absolutely nothing to do with the original question and again you have not supported them with any causal evidence. There are multiple confounding factors behind all of the situations you cite.

Thank you for your perspectives. I won't respond further to this thread.

It sounds like you're giving me an "F" on my report card. How condescending. You're lucky I didn't bring up chemtrails. But they don't exist. Rockets are easier to blame. But according to you they're harmless and, on top of everything else we've done, who cares? When I first posted a comment I really didn't think anyone was manning the station. So, alright, I'm sorry I called you a liar. You're an unbending stiff!

The more penetrations we put in the ozone there is more damage created for Mother Earth. There's no reason we need to have satellites and Rockets up in space. The technology of today is demonic . It has gone to far. It is about Controlling & tracking people & money for greedy corporations & elites.
If the hole was the size of Australia that is HUGE ❗ So how big of a hole does a rocket make ? So all the different satellites and space stations ect. were sending up make holes in the ozone?Right. Any hole is too big. I think it's time to stop all of this before they destroy earth & every living thing.
I am absolutely disgusted with all the lies that the Government has & is telling us.
Lie after lie to cover the next one.

my brother said to me one day why dont we just shoot are trash into space with rockets and send them into the sun i just said because the amount of rockets we would have to male wuld be so many and rockets i imagine they cost quite a bit to make i didnt think about the ozone layer bt then what i was wondering was i heard rockets cant detroy the ozone layer because a gas couldnt have holes pocked through it.

The ozone layer depletion has resulted in the increase of bad weather conditions like hurricanes etc.All these form from space due to imbalances in air pressure above and below the ozone.We have messed up the equilibrium

As alluded to above, it's chiefly the ozone-depleting action of CFCs that are responsible.

Agreed but what about the future when you can book a Trip to Mars rockets day in and day out. What I'm saying is this is a problem for the future we need to start to think about.

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