A new aspect that has become increasingly important in the life cycle of a product is its environmental impact. Therefore, ESA would like to add a new software to its toolbox that will quickly assess and compare specified environmental impacts of different space transportation vehicles’ (STVs) architectures and mission services. The tool has been named ACT for Assessment and Comparison Tool. eSpace is the prime contractor to lead the development of a software that will be used by ESA to perform life cycle assessments of space transportation vehicles.
ESA Deloitte training LCA & ecodesign for space systems March 7, 2022
Module 2 Life Cycle Assessment of space systems
The outputs of the ACT software will be used for decision-making in important design trade-offs. Including the environmental impacts in the choice matrix along with performance and cost metrics will allow engineers to select designs that reduce space debris risks and vehicles’ footprint on the ecosystems.
One of the objectives is to highlight design options that can be considered “greener”, meaning that they have a better score with the impact indicators. There are interesting questions to be answered in order to decide on the propellant type to use, the reusability strategy to implement, and the on-ground logistics to consider.
ACT and TCAT are meant to be compatible and may become more interconnected in future projects.
Achievements so far :
- Literature review of LCA, launch vehicles’ emissions and impacts
- Definition of the assessment goals, scope, and boundaries
- Life cycle inventory
- Development of the tool’s software structure: modularity is key to improve the models and add new features in the future
- First models and computation with the tool (in progress)
- ESA LCA working group, “Space system Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) guidelines” (2016) - available on request at ESA.
- Thibaut Maury et al. “Application of environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) within the space sector: A state of the art”. In: Acta Astronautica (2019).
- A. Dallas et al. “The environmental impact of emissions from space launches: A comprehensive review”. In: Journal of Cleaner Production (2020).
- Deloitte Sustainability, Augustin Chanoine. “Environmental impacts of launchers and space missions”. In: Clean Space industrial Days (2017).
- Paul Erik Schabedoth, “Life cycle assessment of rocket launches and the effects of the propellant choice on their environmental performance”, (2020)
- James A. Vedda Martin Ross. “The policy and science of rocket emissions” (2018).