- SpaceX is turning two oil rigs into offshore launch pads for its Starship rocket.
- One of the rigs, called Phobus, is being built in Mississippi, The Sun Herald reported.
- The oil rig was towed all the way from Texas to Pascagoula, ST Engineering’s VP of operations said.
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SpaceX is building an offshore launch pad for its Starship rocket in Mississippi, The Sun Herald first reported on Thursday.
Elon Musk’s space company bought two oil rigs off the coast of Texas earlier this year with the intention of converting them into ocean spaceports. One of the rigs, Phobos, is now located in Pascagoula, a city in Jackson County, Mississippi, according to The Sun Herald.
It’s unclear where the other launch pad, Deimos, will be situated. The ocean platforms, where Starship will blast off from, have been named after Mars’ moons.
Shipbuilding and repair company ST Engineering Halter Marine & Offshore Inc. is working on a six-month project to remove drilling equipment from the Phobus oil rig.
“SpaceX is here in Pascagoula,” Jeffrey Gehrmann, ST Engineering’s senior vice president of operations, told The Sun Herald.
Gehrmann said the oil rig was towed in from Galveston, Texas, after SpaceX called ST Engineering to ask how much the company would charge to remove the drilling equipment from the oil rig.
“Apparently, our number was better than our competitors’, and they brought it to us,” he said.
Gehrmann couldn’t go into further details about the project due to a nondisclosure agreement with SpaceX, The Sun Herald reported.
“This has the potential of being huge,” Gehrmann said.
Musk said on May 30 that that Deimos is under construction and could begin launch operations next year.
Both Deimos and Phobus will serve as a launch and landing platform for SpaceX’s Starship, a spacecraft that Musk wants to send to Mars. This will be the first time that Starship takes off from an ocean launch pad.
These Starship offshore spaceports follow the success of SpaceX’s ocean droneships, including “Just Read the Instructions” and “Of Course I Still Love You,” which allow the recovery of Falcon 9 first stages in the Atlantic Ocean.