Two deepwater oil rigs reportedly purchased by SpaceX are destined to be converted into offshore launchpads for its massive Starship vessels, according to reports.
Originally designed for drilling at a maximum depth of 2 590m, the rigs are currently nearby SpaceX’s development site in Brownsville, Texas.
What makes folks think that SpaceX now owns two oil rigs?
In June 2020, a company called Lone Star Mineral Development was incorporated and registered in the name of one Bret Johnsen who just so happens to be chief financial officer at SpaceX, according to CNBC.
At around the same time, two rigs were purchased from Valaris for $3.5 million each following that firm’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August 2020.
Those two rigs were purchased by, Lone Star Mineral Development and now at the port in Brownsville, two oil rigs are being worked on.
Photographer Jack Beyer spotted rigs with new names – Deimos and Phobos – at a Brownsville port and following a bit of investigation, discovered information that points to a high likelihood that SpaceX owns these rigs with a view to turning them into launchpads.
Job postings for offshore crane operators and electricians on the SpaceX website also suggest these deepwater oil rigs are destined to become launchpads.
There’s also the matter of this move making a lot of sense. For one, launches on land require a lot of red tape as there are people around the areas where launches happen. Moving launches out to open water then could help SpaceX from an operational standpoint.
Whether these launchpads will also act as landing pads remains to be seen but given SpaceX’s last Starship test, we reckon landing on an oil rig is still quite far away.
[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]