SpaceX abandons plans to use offshore platforms to launch Starship

SpaceX has abandoned plans to turn two oil-producing platforms into launch pads for the Starship spacecraft. Nevertheless, the company still believes that in the long term, offshore launch platforms will definitely find their application.

Deimos platform. Source: Twitter/@SpacePadreIsle

 In 2020, SpaceX bought two oil production platforms, which were named Phobos and Deimos. The company announced its intention to turn them into launch pads for the new Starship spacecraft.

In January 2021, Phobos arrived at the port of Pascagoula on the Gulf coast. Deimos joined it in March 2022. However, despite publicly announced plans for their re-equipment, according to eyewitnesses, the platforms were standing in the port without any visible activity. 

On February 8, 2023, SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell told reporters that the company had sold Phobos and Deimos. “We bought them. We sold them. They weren’t the right platforms for us,” Shotwell said. SpaceX did not say who exactly purchased the platforms.

At the same time, Shotwell said that, in her opinion, in the future, offshore platforms would become an important part of the company’s launch infrastructure. But before building them from scratch, or buying and refitting existing ones, SpaceX needs to launch Starship to better understand its behavior and technical requirements for such structures. 

You can also look at the very spectacular pictures of the recent burning of the Super Heavy accelerator.

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