Elon Musk’s SpaceX buys Valaris rigs to build floating launchpads

Elon Musk’s SpaceX has acquired two semi-submersible drilling rigs from offshore driller Valaris, with plans to convert them into floating launch pads for its Starship rocket, CNBC has reported.

Valaris sold the 2008-built Valaris 8500 and 2009-built Valaris 8501 to Lone Star Mineral Development, an affilaite of SpaceX, for a bargain $3.5m each last year after the offshore rig operator filed for chapter 11.

The two rigs have been renamed Deimos and Phobos respectively, after the names of two moons of Mars.

Starship is a rocket that SpaceX is developing with a goal of launching cargo and as many as 100 people at a time on missions to the Moon and Mars.

The company announced last year that it is forming a team of engineers and technicians to design and build an operational offshore rocket launch facility.

Jason Jiang

Jason is one of the most prolific writers on the diverse China shipping & logistics industry and his access to the major maritime players with business in China has proved an invaluable source of exclusives. Having been working at Asia Shipping Media since inception, Jason is the chief correspondent of Splash and associate editor of Maritime CEO magazine. Previously he had written for a host of titles including Supply Chain Asia, Cargo Facts and Air Cargo Week.


  1. “Finally!” How many of us have been watching Musk’s reusable rockets tottering about on barges and yelling at the screen “Use a semi-sub!”

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