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SpaceX will transform disused oil rigs into floating launch sites for its Starship craft expected to transport crew and cargo on missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond, Elon Musk confirmed on Wednesday.
Replying to a question on Twitter, the chief executive of SpaceX and Tesla wrote, “I hope we don’t go bankrupt building them!” when asked to provide details on the rigs the space craft developer was rumored to have bought.
Earlier this year, reports emerged that SpaceX had bought last year two deepwater oil rigs from Valaris, just before the offshore drilling provider filed for Chapter 11 in the summer of 2020. Valaris sold two rigs for US$3.5 million each in July, CNBC reported last month. The rigs were renamed Deimos and Phobos and were in the Port of Brownsville near SpaceX’s development facility in Boca Chica, Texas, which develops the Starship craft.
In June 2020, Musk tweeted that “SpaceX is building floating, superheavy-class spaceports for Mars, moon & hypersonic travel around Earth.”
SpaceX’s top executive now said that the converted disused oil rigs would be “stationed around the world,” and one of those could be in “limited operation” by the end of this year, Independent reports.
SpaceX is currently doing tests with Starship, saying that “These test flights are all about improving our understanding and development of a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo on long-duration, interplanetary flights and help humanity return to the Moon, and travel to Mars and beyond.”
In June last year, Musk wrote an email to SpaceX employees, in which he told the staff to consider the Starship development as a top priority.
“Please consider the top SpaceX priority (apart from anything that could reduce Dragon return risk) to be Starship,” Musk wrote in the email seen by CNBC.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com