SpaceX could have its first ocean spaceport ready for rocket launches as early as next year. Rather than build the infrastructure from scratch, the aerospace manufacture elected to purchase retired oil rigs and refit them for rocket launches. Presumably, SpaceX is saving a lot of money by going this route.
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 in February said SpaceX’s reusable Starship launch vehicles would fly to and land on the platforms before heading to space. SpaceX eventually wants to use Starship to send the first humans to Mars, hence the tie-in with the moon names. Musk has even expressed interest in moving to the Red Planet as one of its first colonists.
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.