SpaceX Starship: Elon Musk reveals render of ‘floating superheavy-class’ oil rig platforms

SpaceX Starship: Elon Musk reveals render of ‘floating superheavy-class’ oil rig platforms


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SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has repeatedly made plain his plan to make space accessible enough to allow mankind to evolve into an “interplanetary species.” A key component of this concept is the SpaceX Starship and Super-Heavy launch system.

Such cutting-edge reusable SpaceX technology will hopefully allow for both lunar and manned Mars bases and the eventual exploration of deep space.

SpaceX is building floating, superheavy-class spaceports for Mars, Moon & hypersonic travel around Earth

Elon Musk

But in order to get Elon Musk’s plan off the ground, SpaceX needs to first construct spaceports at sea.

These offshore areas are considered ideal as they will likely allow for greater flexibility with launches and landings.

News consequently emerged last week concerning SpaceX’s acquisition of a pair of former oil rigs off the Texas coast.

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These spaceports have been named Phobos and Deimos, after the two satellites of red planet Mars,

These are reportedly already undergoing major modifications in a bid to conduct SpaceX Starship launches as soon as possible.

The news SpaceX is accelerating plans to use floating spaceports for future Starship launches has come as no surprise to industry insiders.

SpaceX dropped some major hints they were investigating this idea only last year when SpaceX advertised for experienced offshore crane operators, electricians and engineers on its site.

The adverts also suggested the roles were related to the development of the SpaceX Starship.

And they also specified how the jobs were to be based in Brownsville, Texas, nearby to SpaceX’s Boca Chica facility.

SpaceX head Elon Musk confirmed this news via Twitter shortly afterwards.

Mr Musk wrote: “SpaceX is building floating, superheavy-class spaceports for Mars, Moon & hypersonic travel around Earth.”

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He added: “We need to be far enough away so as not to bother heavily populated areas.

“The launch & landing are not subtle. But you could get within a few miles of the spaceport in a boat.”

SpaceX already runs Of Course I Still Love You – an oddly-named autonomous spaceport droneship operated from Florida’s Port Canaveral.

The droneship is a modified barge outfitted with a large landing platform, station-keeping thrusters and other equipment.

This allows SpaceX to land boosters at sea on high-velocity missions unable to carry enough fuel to allow for a return-to-launch-site landing.

There are several advantages to having floating spaceports at sea instead of on land.

Their historic home can often result in spent stages plummeting back to Earth, posing a significant risk to populated areas.

This can also result in toxic chemicals and unspent propellant leaking into the ground.

Taken in tandem, inland facilities, therefore, require extensive safety procedures and cleanup operations.

Pioneering private space company space SpaceX is far from alone in identifying offshore launch facilities as the future for spaceports.

China has also been working on a floating spaceport of its own.

This is floating off the coast of Haiyang City, in the eastern province of Shandong.

After it becomes fully operational, the Eastern Aerospace Port will become the secretive state’s fourth spaceport and the first not located on land.

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