Private space company SpaceX has purchased two deepwater oil rigs that will eventually be used as floating launch pads for its future endeavors. The purchases were made last year, according to a new report, and both are located near SpaceX’s Starship facility in Texas. The rigs have been named Phobos and Deimos, the names of two Martian moons.
The revelation first came from NASASpaceflight.com’s Michael Baylor, who recently published a series of tweets on the topic. It seems these two oil rigs were previously called ENSCO 8500 and ENSCO 8501; each was purchased for $3.5 million by Lone Star Mineral Development, LLC after their previous owner filed for bankruptcy.
CNBC reports that the limited liability corporation is registered with the name of SpaceX’s CFO Bret Johnsen and was incorporated back in June 2020. The oil rig purchases took place in July 2020 amid comments from Elon Musk and job postings from SpaceX related to floating spaceports.
The oil rigs will be turned into floating launch pads for the company’s huge Starship rockets, which are being developed not too far away in Texas. Last year, Musk had said in a tweet that the private space company was planning ‘floating, superheavy-class spaceports’ that would be used for travel from Earth to multiple celestial destinations.
Under its ‘Starship’ category on its career website, SpaceX has listed two positioned for temporary launch pad technicians located in Brownsville, Texas, the port city near SpaceX’s Starship facility.