SpaceX's first ocean spaceport for the Starship launch vehicle could be ready as soon as next year, company chief Elon Musk has revealed on Twitter. He said Deimos, as the spaceport is called, is currently under construction and that the company could use it to host rocket launches in 2022 in a reply to a render of the structure a fan posted on the social network.
Ocean spaceport Deimos is under construction for launch next year https://t.co/WJQka399c7— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 30, 2021
The private space corporation purchased two oil rigs last year with the intention of transforming them into launch pads and landing sites for its next-generation vehicle meant for trips to the Moon and Mars. They're appropriately named after the two moons of the red planet: Phobos and Deimos. According to NASA Spaceflight, SpaceX moved Phobos to Pascagoula, Mississippi from the Port of Galveston earlier this year so it can be refitted for Starship operations. Meanwhile, Deimos is under construction at the Port of Brownsville in Texas.
As TechCrunch has mentioned, Musk previously said that one of the two may be operational by the end of 2021. The executive tends to be a bit optimistic with timelines, though, and it looks like this is one of those times. If SpaceX succeeds in getting Deimos ready for launches next year, it'll be the first in what could be multiple floating spaceports around the world where the Starship can launch from.
The company is in the midst of developing the reusable super heavy‑lift launch vehicle and has been conducting high-altitude flight tests to demonstrate the technology. SpaceX lost multiple prototypes during previous tests, but it successfully landed the SN15 Starship prototype during a flight test in early May. It's now planning to fly a Starship prototype into orbit and have it complete a 90-minute flight from Texas to Kauai.