SpaceX Ocean Spaceport
As early as next year, SpaceX might have its first ocean spaceport ready for rocket launches. Rather than building the infrastructure from the ground up, the aerospace company decided to buy old oil rigs and convert them to rocket launch platforms. SpaceX is presumably saving a lot of money by taking this way.
Oil Rigs Bought
Last year, a SpaceX subsidiary called Lone Star Mineral Development bought two old oil rigs from offshore drilling contractor Valaris for $3.5 million apiece. The rigs were named after Mars’ two moons, Phobos and Deimos, and SpaceX chose to relocate the former from Galveston to Pascagoula, Mississippi, early this year. Both rigs are receiving renovations in order to accommodate rocket launches.
Mars is On!
SpaceX’s reusable Starship launch vehicles, Musk announced in February, would fly to and land on the platforms before flying to space. The tie-in with the moon names comes from SpaceX’s desire to use Starship to bring the first humans to Mars. Musk has even indicated interest in being one of the first inhabitants on Mars.
Last month, SpaceX launched and landed a Starship prototype for the first time. Earlier attempts were successful in getting into the air and performing remarkable feats, but failed to land without exploding.