The idea of a rocket racing league all sounds amazingly futuristic. And given our current grasp of aerospace technology, entirely possible, too. However, I think the Rocket Racing League will either struggle to get off the ground, or all go up in smoke — and in a very literal sense…
Any kind of motor sport is pretty much a guaranteed environmental anathema, what with all those powerful yet energy inefficient engines belching out fumes into the air. For their part, Honda have been trying to paint themselves as the very green and responsible car company. But aircraft are on a totally different level when it comes to pollution:
“Pollution from aircraft is set to grow so rapidly that all homeowners, car drivers and businesses will have to reduce their carbon dioxide output to zero for levels to remain safe, a new study warned today.”
That’s the findings from the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.
Despite fuel economy being at the top of the business agenda for all airline operators, getting aeroplanes airborne and to their desired location is still very expensive, both in material costs and to the environment.
But motor sports are often less concerned about fuel economy and more about power. Yes, fuel economy plays it’s part, but getting the most aeronautical miles from your aviation fuel does not a winner maketh.
On a personal note, it’s an inspiring idea, which harks back to the early 20th century, where similar air-sea races inspired whole generations of people. Who knows what engineering and technological innovations might arise from the competition, in the same way F1 racing often pioneers technologies that then find their way into domestic automotive designs.
But I do have to wonder if the guys behind the planned Rocket Racing League have given enough thought to the environmental impact of their idea and how people might react.
So many businesses are now getting wise to environmental issues and how being seen to be green (even if not quite being green) can have a huge impact on their brand perception and / or success. In turn, the public are starting to make purchasing decisions based around the environmental consequences of their buying habits, and on moral & ethical grounds.
With this as a backdrop, how does the Rocket Racing League go about making a case for their new sport, I wonder. Their business case might be sound, but their environmental credentials might require much more scrutiny…