SpaceX plans to launch and land its next-generation Starship rocket at an ocean spaceport as early as next year.
Starship could one day carry up to 100 crew members to the Moon, Mars and beyond. The powerful launcher can also be used for city-to-city travel, bringing cities around the world closer than ever.
The initial goal of the private spaceflight company is to build two floating space ports called Deimos and Phobos, named after the moons of Mars.
In response to a fan’s tweet that included an image of what the spaceport might look like, SpaceX chief Elon Musk confirmed that construction is already underway on Deimos.
The space ports are built on oil rig devices purchased in 2020 for a total of $ 7 million from Valaris, the world’s largest owner of offshore platforms.
Musk’s desire to use SpaceX gear – including rockets, spacecraft, and floating platforms – for city-to-city travel was revealed during an appearance at the International Astronautical Congress in Australia in 2017. The CEO of SpaceX said at the time that the system would. allow passengers to “fly to most places on Earth in less than 30 minutes and anywhere in less than 60”, adding that a seat would cost the same as an economy class fare on a conventional flight .The company also released an animation showing the plan.
To make SpaceX Mars missions and city-to-city travel a reality, the company has conducted high-altitude test flights of its Starship vehicle in hopes of sending it on its first orbital flight in the coming months. .
But the tests were difficult. Three of the first five high altitude flights ended in fireballs when Starship landed too heavily at the end of its short trip, while the fourth exploded several minutes after making what initially seemed like a decent landing. . However, its fifth and final flight, which took place in early May, landed safely and remained intact, giving the team a huge boost in perfecting Starship’s flight system.
For its next orbital flight, Starship will launch atop SpaceX’s developing Super Heavy rocket. It’s this reusable two-stage system that SpaceX says will one day transport humans to Mars and also make its global transportation system possible.
Jobs posted by SpaceX last year suggest that the spaceport construction team is based in Brownsville, Texas, near SpaceX’s Starship test site in Boca Chica. There’s still a lot of work and testing to do before Starship begins carrying crews and passengers, but Musk’s revelation that work is underway on building his very first ocean spaceport shows the company is getting closer to its goal.