Last year, SpaceX bought two abandoned oil rigs to be used as rocket launch platforms.
SpaceX may be able to launch rockets from its first ocean spaceport as early as next year. Rather than starting from scratch, the aerospace manufacturer chose to buy old oil rigs and retrofit them for rocket launches. SpaceX is presumably saving a lot of money by going this approach.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk recently said on Twitter that the floating spaceport, dubbed Deimos, is currently under construction for launch in 2022.
Last year, a SpaceX subsidiary called Lone Star Mineral Development purchased two retired oil rigs for $3.5 million each from offshore drilling contractor Valaris. SpaceX named the rigs Phobos and Deimos after the two moons of Mars and elected to move the former from the Port of Galveston to Pascagoula, Mississippi, earlier this year. Both rigs are atively undergoing a refit to accommodate rocket launches.
Musk stated in February that SpaceX’s reusable Starship launch rockets will fly to the platforms and land before flying into orbit. SpaceX eventually plans to utilise Starship to deliver the first humans to Mars, which is why the moon names are linked. Musk has even indicated interest in becoming one of Mars’ first residents.
SpaceX successfully launched and landed a Starship prototype for the first time last month. Previous attempts were able to get into the air and perform impressive maneuvers, but struggled to stick the landing without exploding.