Trips to Mars and convenient domestic air travel, are among the biggest ambitions for SpaceX’s Starship, a next generation spacecraft SpaceX is currently developing. The spacecraft would skim the outer atmosphere of Earth, and reduce travel times from many hours, to just minutes. While the rockets are more disturbing to their local environment in comparison to traditional aircrafts, they will need to take flight somewhere. But SpaceX founder Elon Musk has a solution in mind, and has plans to convert oil rig platforms into floating spaceports.
These plans have been discussed previously, and have manifested into SpaceX purchasing two rigs that are currently being retrofitted for use with Starship. The rigs are nicknamed Phoibos and Deimos, after the moons of Mars, and located in the Gulf of Mexico near SpaceX’s Brownsville, Texas development site.
Musk made a statement on his twitter account on Wednesday and claims one of the two rigs could be, at least, partially operating by the end of the year. Musk is known for his highly optimistic timelines, and the vast majority of them as of late have been relatively accurate.
One of them may be in limited operation by end of year
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 24, 2021
And by “limited operation”, it remains unclear what in specific that will entail. He is not saying SpaceX will be actively launching by the end of the year. But potentially that they are floating as scheduled, or simply able to host a Starship prototype. He added that there are increased plans to station launchpads for Starship in various places throughout the globe, and is not limited to just the Golf. These bold plans fall in line with his previously shared plan via CG concept videos when Starship debuted, where he outlined ideas of launch and landing facilities stationed in bodies of water closer to urban destinations.