SpaceX plans to use Oil Rigs to build a Starship Spaceport at Sea in South Texas

SpaceX plans to use Oil Rigs to build a Starship Spaceport at Sea in South Texas

Featured Image Source: SPadre @SpacePadreIsle via Twitter

SpaceX was founded by Elon Musk to develop the spacecraft that will enable humans to spread consciousness across the galaxy. The aerospace company is working on the development of a stainless-steel spacecraft-rocket duo – Starship and its Super Heavy rocket booster. The launch vehicle could become the world’s most powerful rocket capable of transporting 100 passengers and tons of cargo during long-duration space voyages.

The Super Heavy Starship launch system will be very noisy, so, launching from a spaceport at sea far away from cities will be the best option to conduct frequent trips. Last year, Musk shared SpaceX has plans to build the first Super Heavy-class spaceport in the Gulf of Mexico near Boca Chica Beach in Brownsville, Texas. “Starship/Super Heavy […] will mostly launch from ocean spaceports long-term,” he says.


This week, NASAspaceflight and Spadre photographers discovered SpaceX owns a pair of oil rigs that could be refurbished into a floating Starship spaceport, pictured above. The photographers captured photos of the pair of oil rigs in the Port of Brownsville. CNBC news reporter Michael Sheetz further investigated the finding and confirmed SpaceX purchased the twin oil rigs from Valaris. SpaceX renamed the vessels ‘Deimos’ and ‘Phobos’, like Mars’ pair of moons. Read the full CNBC report for more details, linked below. *Correction: Michael Baylor @nextspaceflight via Twitter investigated and found out SpaceX purchased the vessels. Sheetz reported his findings. (January 19) * 


Building Super Heavy-class spaceports in the ocean will be needed globally. Besides taking humanity back to the Moon and colonizing the Red Planet, Musk also envisions a future where Starship can function for Earth-to-Earth transportation, like airplanes. “Most Starship spaceports will probably need to be ~20 miles/30 kilometers offshore for acceptable noise levels, especially for frequent daily flights, as would occur for point-to-point flights on Earth,” Musk previously said.

Starship would be capable of transporting 1,000 passengers strapped in seats. It would blast off from a spaceport at sea, exit the atmosphere, and circle the globe in a matter of minutes – traveling at Mach 25, a speed over 17,500 miles per hour (29,000 kilometers), like an inter-continental ballistic missile. Much faster than the speed of a supersonic jet Concorde which flies at 1,354 miles per hour (2,179 kilometers), and faster than a commercial aircraft that flies at approximately 600 miles per hour (965 kilometers). Flying from New York to Paris on a commercial airplane typically takes around 7 hours and 20 minutes, that same trip aboard SpaceX’s Starship would only take 30 minutes! Musk compares a trip aboard a Starship to a roller-coaster ride –“Probably needs a restraint mechanism like Disney’s Space Mountain roller coaster. Would feel similar to Space Mountain in a lot of ways, but you’d exit on another continent,” he said late-2019. Upon arrival to the destination Starship would turn on its tail to perform a propulsive vertical landing at a complementary sea spaceport in another country to disembark its passengers. “There will be many test flights before commercial passengers are carried. First Earth-to-Earth test flights might be in 2 or 3 years,” Musk said last year. The video below is an animation by SpaceX depicting Earth-to Earth Starship flights. The future is exciting!

Starship Earth-to-Earth


Featured Image Source: SPadre @SpacePadreIsle via Twitter

About the Author

Evelyn Arevalo

Evelyn Arevalo

Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.

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