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SpaceX scraps plans to convert two offshore oil rigs into rocket launch pads

SpaceX, a private space company, has abandoned plans to turn oil rigs into offshore launch platforms for launching its super-heavy Starship launch vehicle. However, the company believes that offshore launch pads will be part of its long-term plans.

In 2020, SpaceX acquired two oil platforms, which were then named after the moons of Mars: Deimos and Phobos. At the same time, the company announced the recruitment of engineers for marine operations.

Phobos has been in the port of Pascagoula, Mississippi, since January 2021, and Deimos arrived there in March last year. However, no work was done on the plants for several months.

On February 8, 2023, SpaceX president Gwynn Shotwell told reporters that the company had sold oil rigs. According to her, they were not suitable for use as launch platforms. Shotwell did not say who SpaceX gave the towers to.

The company's president pointed out that SpaceX first needs to launch the Starship and better understand the rocket's behavior before building offshore launch platforms. However, she acknowledged that floating platforms will be key to supporting high frequency launches. Shotwell talks about dozens, if not hundreds, of planned launches a day.

SpaceX scraps plans to convert two offshore oil rigs into rocket launch pads