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.