An article in an English-language section of the web site of German magazine Der Spiegel briefly discusses the New Mexico spaceport plans announced last week. But—and you knew there had to be a “but” here—the article weighs that against the “enormous” carbon footprint the suborbital spaceflight from there will generate. The key (and final) sentence from the article, after discussing the environmentally-friendly aspects of the spaceport: “But all the fuss about conservation comes across as a bit empty considering the enormous fuel consumption and carbon footprint of each rocket that will launch from the private spaceport, taking space tourists into orbit for $200,000 a pop.”
This is not the first time that the perceived deleterious effects on the environment by suborbital spaceflights have been brought up; an editorial from a New Hampshire newspaper made similar statements in July. Der Spiegel makes no attempt to quantify how big an “enormous” carbon footprint is (perhaps because it’s not so enormous after all), and that’s just plain sloppy journalism.