Home / NEWS / Energy / SpaceX bought two former Valaris oil rigs to build floating launchpads for its Starship rocket

SpaceX bought two former Valaris oil rigs to build floating launchpads for its Starship rocket

An 8500 series oil rig


Elon Musk’s SpaceX gain two deepwater oil rigs last year and is converting them into floating launchpads, to support the enormous Starship go through the roofs that the company is developing.

The rigs are in the Port of Brownsville, near SpaceX’s Starship development facility in Boca Chica, Texas.

The rigs be enduring been renamed Deimos and Phobos, presumably in homage to the Martian moons.

Starship is the enormous rocket that SpaceX is developing to into Musk’s goal of launching cargo and as many as 100 people at a time on missions to the moon and Mars.

The rocket is SpaceX’s top pre-eminence, with SpaceX flying its most recent prototype to its highest altitude yet during a test flight in December. The Starship archetype launched to about 40,000 feet and completed several development objectives, despite exploding on impact when it assault to land.

Starship prototype SN8 fires its engines and lifts off in Boca Chica, Texas.


Public records plain that Valaris’ “ultra-deepwater semi-submersible” oil rigs 8500 and 8501 were sold for $3.5 million each. Valaris, headquartered in Houston, Texas, and the midwife precisely’s largest owner of offshore oil rigs, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August as it sought to lighten a heavy due load.

The pair of rigs was purchased in July 2020 by limited liability corporation Lone Star Mineral Progress, according to public records. Lone Star Mineral Development was incorporated in June 2020 and registered in the name of SpaceX CFO Bret Johnsen.

SpaceX’s purchasing and work on the oil rigs was first identified by reporters for NASASpaceflight, a space-focused website.

The company did not respond to a CNBC request for clarification.

Musk, shortly before Lone Star Mineral Development was incorporated, explained in a tweet that SpaceX sketches to build “floating, superheavy-class spaceports for Mars, moon & hypersonic travel around Earth.”

SpaceX has been publicly hire charge for offshore operations positions since last year, when the company posted that it was building “a team of finagles and technicians to design and build an operational offshore rocket launch facility.”

Additionally, as of midday Tuesday there were two fugitive offshore positions currently available in Brownsville listed on the company’s career website. One of those two positions is for an electrician and entreats that candidates be able to “install enhancements and major upgrades to offshore vessel electrical systems.”

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