American billionaire Mr. Elon Musk’s space company SpaceX has already begun building its first floating spaceport platform which is expected to begin hosting launches as soon as next year.
Mr. Musk has revealed the status of Deimos, one of two converted oil rigs that the company bought earlier this year to turn them into floating launch and landing sites for its upcoming Starship reusable rocket.
The two rigs were purchased by SpaceX at the start of this year for the construction of Deimos and Phobos, two floating spaceports named after moons of Mars. They’ll serve as offshore staging grounds for Starship launch activities, and the name is apt given that the ultimate goal is for Starship to transport both people and commodities to and from Mars.
Mr. Musk and SpaceX have previously shared their vision for a future in which spaceports like Deimos are located within easy reach of major global hubs, allowing SpaceX to operate a globe-spanning network of hypersonic point-to-point travel using Starships that can ferry people from Beijing to New York in around 30 minutes.
However, before that, SpaceX plans to conduct orbital flight testing of the Starship, as well as its accompanying booster, the Super Heavy.
Mr. Musk stated that rockets might be launched from its offshore platforms as early as the end of 2021. This new timeline shows that the optimistic forecast has been pushed, which is quite typical of the multi-CEO.
However, the company has made significant headway on its Starship program with a successful high-altitude launch and landing test at its Texas ‘Starbase’ development site. SpaceX is currently preparing for its first orbital flight test, which will include the first flight of Starship atop Super Heavy and the recovery of the Starship after the test, which will take place off the coast of Hawaii.
It is now doing longer fire Raptor engine ground testing in preparation for the next major milestone.