SpaceX Bought Two Former Valaris Deepwater Oil Rigs to Build Floating Launchpads for Starship Rockets

An 8500 series oil rig (ENSCO)

Elon Musk’s SpaceX bought two deepwater oil rigs last year and is converting them into floating launchpads, to support the enormous Starship rockets 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 have been renamed Deimos and Phobos, presumably in homage to the Martian moons.

Starship is the enormous rocket that SpaceX is developing to meet 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 priority, with SpaceX flying its most recent prototype to its highest altitude yet during a test flight in December. The Starship prototype launched to about 40,000 feet and completed several development objectives, despite exploding on impact when it attempted to land.

Public records show 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 world’s largest owner of offshore oil rigs, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August as it sought to lighten a heavy debt load.

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SOURCE: CNBC, Michael Sheetz