Mercury Pollution--An Invisible Foe that Knows No Boundaries
Apollo Fusion developed thrusters using liquid mercury as propulsion to maintain altitude by vaporizing it into a gas, accelerated out of the thruster. Mercury atoms drift down through the stratosphere onto the world’s oceans.
“Using mercury as a satellite propellant is a bad idea,” stated PEER Staff Counsel Kevin Bell, noting that while cheap, commercial use of mercury is increasingly avoided due to environmental effects. “The FCC is focused solely on the satellite payload while ignoring the emissions and downstream consequences of what is launched.”
FCC lets satellite operators self-certify their technology will have no significant impact on human health, only examining satellite payload. U.S. law requires any federal agency to assess the full environmental impact of its actions.