Deimos and Phobos
SpaceX bought two huge oil rigs to convert them into floating space ports for its Starship spacecraft bound for Mars. Named Phobos and Deimos, after the two Martian moons, SpaceX predicts that the massive structures will support launches of very large carriers.
Thanks to recently captured photos, we can now see the enormous scale of both platforms.
Shrouded in mist off the port of Pascagoula, Mississippi, Phobos peels off like a sore thumb. The derrick, the steel tower intended to contain the rig’s rig, rises above its surroundings – almost as if a spaceship is already perched on the rig, ready to take off.
SpaceX’s Starship offshore platform, Phobos, has entered the port of Pascagoula in Mississippi. pic.twitter.com/IKjiPSJR4F
– Brady Kenniston (@TheFavoritist) January 22, 2021
As spotted by aerospace and launch photographer Jack Beyer, the two platforms were data nameplates according to their new names.
I explored the port of Brownsville while waiting for the Starship tests and found an oil rig that appears to be called Deimos, based on one of the moons on Mars! Based on job vacancies and @Elon Musk‘s tweets, I’m willing to bet SpaceX is involved. @NASASpaceflight pic.twitter.com/zhTOGNnZKd
– Jack Beyer (@thejackbeyer) January 19, 2021
Converting oil rigs as a way to launch its spacecraft has been a part of SpaceX’s plans for some time.
“SpaceX is building super-heavy-class floating space ports for Mars, the Moon and hypersonic travel around the Earth,” CEO Elon Musk wrote in a June 2020 Tweet.
It’s still unclear when SpaceX will start work on converting the two platforms. But if its recent development of its Starship spacecraft is anything to say, we should expect to see changes to the oil rigs sooner rather than later.
Learn more about the platforms: SpaceX bought two huge oil rigs to use as floating launch pads