Virtual rocket launch

Simulated Vega plume

A rocket launch is a very special event. Europe is exemplary in respecting the environment and wants to go even further in understanding the effects of the plume in the different layers of the atmosphere. Even if the number of European launches is too low to have a significant effect, a new study applies advanced computer modelling to quantify the environmental effects in detail. Computational fluid dynamics is being used to simulate a launcher flying through the atmosphere, including its plume up to 500 m downstream, combined with a larger-scale chemical transport model to derive chemical and climate effects on the wider atmosphere.

Last update: 13 November 2012

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