4. NASA SPACE SHUTTLES DESTROY THE OZONE SHIELD
"Every time the space shuttle is launched, 250 tons of hydrochloric
acid is released into the air. With each launch, .25% of the
ozone is destroyed. So far, the space shuttle has destroyed 10% of the
Caldicott, world renown physician and environmentalist stuns audiences when she
makes that statement in her talks across the country.
A brief article, in
a small-circulation environmental publication, supports Dr. Caldicott's charges.
Soviet rocket scientists have warned that the solid fuel rocket boosters used
on the space shuttle release 187 tons of ozone destroying chlorine molecules into
the atmosphere with every launch.
Valery Burdakov, co-designer of the Russian "Energiya" rocket
engine, also noted that each shuttle launch produces seven tons of nitrogen
(another ozone depleter), 387 tons of carbon dioxide (a major contributor
to the "greenhouse effect") and 177 tons of aluminum oxide
(thought to be linked to Alzheimer's Disease) before reaching an altitude
of 31 miles. Burdakov also notes that the history of ozone depletion
correlates closely with the increase of chlorine discharged by solid
fuel rockets since 1981. Soviet rockets employ a fuel combination that
is 2000 times less damaging than the shuttle's but which still destroys
1500 tons of ozone per launch.
to Burdakov and his colleague, Vyacheslav Filin, a single shuttle launch can destroy
as much as 10 million tons of ozone. This means that some 300 shuttle flights
could completely destroy the Earth's protective ozone shield.
solid fuel rockets also contribute to ozone destruction. Near the top of the list
are the U.S. Delta rocket (which destroys eight million tons per launch), the
U.S. Titan, and the French Ariane V.
In an article published originally
in South, Burdakov warned that, at present rates of increase, rockets will soon
be pouring 100,000 tons of chlorine and nitrogen into the atmosphere annually.
Burdakov has called for international controls and a phase out of solid fuel rocket
technology as well as a ban on supersonic aircraft flights into the stratosphere.
extraordinary charges by the Russian scientists were supported by research done
by the Military Toxics Network, headquartered in San Francisco. Working with the
Russian figures and data obtained from NASA, the Network concluded that significant
damage was being done to the ozone layer by the space shuttle launches.
CENSORED RESEARCHER: DIRK VANWINKLE
SOURCE: EARTH ISLAND JOURNAL, 300 Broadway, Suite 28, San Francisco,
DATE: Fall 1990
TITLE: "Soviets Say Shuttles Rip Ozone Layer"
AUTHOR: Gar Smith
SOURCE: SSU STAR, Sonoma State University, Rohnert Park, CA 94928,
TITLE: "Doc Caldicott Prescribes Medicine"
AUTHOR: Mindi Levine
SOURCE: SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE, 901 Mission St., San Francisco, CA
TITLE: "Group Says Space Shuttle Damages Earth's Ozone"
AUTHOR: David Sylvester
COMMENTS: Gar Smith, editor of Earth Island Journal, said he
was surprised by the limited coverage given to this story considering
the variety of other problems with NASA's space programs that were being
reported during the same period. "It is worth noting that this
story appeared in the European press over a year before I discovered
a reference to it in the London based South Magazine." Smith also
said that he faxed a press release, citing this story among others,
to daily newspapers, radio and television stations in the San Francisco
Bay Area, as well as to AP, UPI, Reuters, Time Magazine, etc., and there
was no interest in the story. (However, he noted that another writer,
Lenny Siegel, had been working on the story independently and had produced
a 12-page report that was the basis for a story in the San Francisco
Chronicle and an article in Mother Jones magazine.) Smith concludes
"The story still has not penetrated the mainstream press. On December
6, (1990), the AP carried a story on NASA's plans for '27 Shuttle Flights
Set for Next 3 Years' that carried no mention of the environmental impacts
of such flights for the integrity of the ozone layer."