SpaceX has purchased two deepwater oil rigs which it will use as floating launch pads for its future missions. The two oil rigs have been named Phobos and Deimos, after the two moons of Mars, and are currently undergoing modifications to support Starship launch operations near SpaceX’s Starship facility in Texas.
The news was broken by NASASpaceflight.com’s Michael Baylor and Jack Beyer, who took to Twitter to announce the findings. According to Baylor, the rigs were previously called ENSCO 8500 and ENSCO 8501, each of which cost the company around $3.5 million.
Following up on @thejackbeyer‘s find, I can confirm that Deimos and Phobos are the names of two oil rigs purchased by SpaceX – likely for conversion to support Starship operations.
ENSCO 8500 and ENSCO 8501 were the previous names of the rigs. They are nearly identical twins.
— Michael Baylor (@nextspaceflight) January 19, 2021
Under the ‘Starship’ category on the company’s website, SpaceX has already listed a number of available positions for launchpad technicians, each of which is located in Brownsville, Texas, the port city near SpaceX’s Starship facility. This could point to the possibility that work had already started on the new launchpads.
The oil rigs will be converted into two launch pads for the company’s huge Starship rockets, which are currently being developed in Texas.