Нефтяная платформа Valaris 8500 (ENSCO)

SpaceX buys two offshore oil platforms to launch rockets from them


Last year, Elon Musk’s SpaceX bought two deep-sea oil platforms and is already converting them into floating launch pads for the Starship super-heavy rockets that the company is currently developing. The installations are located in the Port of Brownsville, near the Starship Research Center in Boca Chica, Texas.

Valaris 8500 Oil Platform (ENSCO)

Valaris 8500 Oil Platform (ENSCO)

The oil platforms were renamed Deimos and Phobos, after the Martian satellites. Starship is currently SpaceX’s top priority, and the company raised its latest prototype to an altitude of 12.5 km during a test flight in December. The vehicle completed several tasks, including a pre-landing maneuver, but was unable to land successfully.

As open records show, the 8500 and 8501 super deepwater semi-submersible oil rigs were sold for $ 3.5 million each. The former rig owner, Houston, Texas-headquartered Valaris, the world’s largest owner of offshore oil rigs, filed for bankruptcy in August in an effort to ease its heavy debt burden.

Fire tests of engines of the Starship SN8 prototype (SpaceX)

Fire tests of engines of the Starship SN8 prototype (SpaceX)

According to public records, a pair of platforms were acquired in July 2020 by Lone Star Mineral Development Corporation. The latter was registered in June 2020 in the name of SpaceX CFO Bret Johnsen. Shortly before Lone Star Mineral Development was registered, Mr. Musk tweeted that SpaceX plans to build super-heavy-class floating spaceports for Mars, the Moon and hypersonic travel around Earth.

Samantha Lee / Business Insider

Samantha Lee / Business Insider

SpaceX has been publicly hiring people for positions related to maritime operations since last year, the company said it is creating a team of engineers and technicians to design and build an operational maritime missile system.

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