In 2020, Elon Musk’s SpaceX organisation bought two retired oil rigs and started transforming one of them into its first floating spaceport.
In July 2020, Lone Star Mineral Development LLC, a subsidiary of SpaceX, bought two semi-submersible drilling rigs from Valaris plc for a reported $3.5 million each.
Deimos and Phobos (named after two of the moons of Mars) are being converted as launch and landing platforms for future use – and even as the take-off points for Musk’s Mars mission.
Deimos is being worked on at Brownsville, on the southernmost tip of Texas near the Gulf of Mexico. Phobos is being modified at Pascagoula, Mississippi.
Reportedly, they each will have deck dimensions of some 73m x 78m (240ft x 255ft).
Initially, they’ll be used as offshore platforms near major urban centres for his hypersonic inter-Continental travel-by-rocket system. Musk has talked of carrying passengers from – say- Beijing to New York in about 30 minutes!
Musk, in a Tweet on May 30th, said “Ocean spaceport Deimos is under construction for launch next year.” Deimos, it is worth noting, is also the name of the Greek god of dread and terror.