SpaceX’s grand imaginative and prescient for Starship, the next-generation spacecraft it’s presently within the strategy of creating, contains not solely journeys to Mars, but additionally common point-to-point flights proper right here on Earth. These would skim the Earth’s outer environment, lowering journey occasions for normal worldwide flights from many hours to round half-hour. They’ll want to take off from someplace, nevertheless, and rockets are a bit extra disturbing to their native environs than conventional plane, so a part of SpaceX founder Elon Musk’s plan for his or her common use is protecting oil rig platforms into floating spaceports.
Musk has talked about these plans earlier than, and SpaceX just lately went as far as to buy two rigs – which it nicknamed Phoibos and Deimos after the moons of Mars. These are presently within the strategy of being retrofitted to be used with Starship, they usually’ll be stationed within the Gulf of Mexico close to SpaceX’s Brownsville, Texas improvement website.
On Wednesday, Musk stated on Twitter that one of many two platforms could be at the very least partially operational by the top of 2021. The SpaceX CEO is understood for his optimistic timelines, however a variety of them have truly been comparatively correct these days – or at the very least not fairly as unrealistic as in years previous.
What he means by “in limited operation” isn’t essentially clear. That could imply that they’re floating the place they’re supposed to be, and technically able to taking part in host to a Starship prototype, however not that SpaceX will be actively launching Starships from one by finish of year. He did add that the plan is to put floating launchpads for Starship not solely within the Gulf, but additionally at various points around the world – which is consistent with the daring plan he shared through CG idea movies when Starship debuted, which depicted launch and touchdown amenities stationed in our bodies of water close to city locations.