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SpaceX bought two rigs for $ 3.5 million. But why?

Oil and other mineral deposits sometimesare located at the bottom of the seas and oceans. For their production in the first half of the 20th century, oil platforms were invented, which allow drilling wells under water. Recently it became known that one of the subsidiaries of SpaceX has bought two such installations to use for their own purposes. At the moment, the company's engineers are changing their design, because SpaceX is not interested in their ability to drill wells, but something completely different. Purchased drilling platforms can float, so they can be taken offshore and used as portable spaceports to launch the huge Starship spacecraft. The question arises - why the company did not like its own spaceport in Texas? The reason lies in caring for people.

SpaceX has bought two such drilling platforms, but why?

New SpaceX launch sites

SpaceX bought two rigsplatform, said NASA SpaceFlight. More specifically, the purchase was made by its subsidiary Lone Star, which was incorporated in June 2020. It acquired the Valaris 8500 and Valaris 8501 drilling rigs, each of which worth $ 3.5 million... At the moment they have already been renamed to"Phobos" and "Deimos", in honor of the satellites of the planet Mars. Based on the new names of the platforms and Elon Musk's messages about planning to create floating spaceports, one can guess that they will be used to launch rockets.

SpaceX drilling rig from a different angle. Soon she will look different

At the moment, both platforms are on the portthe city of Brownsville, which is located in the state of Texas. Previously, journalists managed to find vacancies for crane operators, electricians and marine engineers. It was written that they would have to work on one of SpaceX's projects. The new people must have come in handy for the company to redesign the purchased platforms. The built-in drilling rig is not so important to her. Most of all, she needs the platforms to be able to float and allow rockets to take off and land.

Floating platforms will come in handy for launching the Starship. But the photo shows a prototype, and the final version will look more beautiful.

There is a chance that the company will equip platformsa launch tower that can catch returning Super Heavy missiles. Elon Musk reported about this idea relatively recently - you can find out more about it here, but first read this article. The Super Heavy rocket will be used to launch the huge Starship spacecraft. It, in turn, is designed to deliver people and goods to the Moon and Mars. The company also wants to use it for fast flights from one point of the planet to another.

Read also: Elon Musk named the cost of the Starship launch

Starship launch

To launch a giant spaceshipStarship, ordinary spaceports are not suitable. First, it is a completely new and record-breaking powerful spacecraft, from which no one knows what to expect. If during one of the first launches an explosion thunders, the people nearby will not seem a little. Therefore, it is better to place spaceports on the water, away from the coast. Secondly, a powerful rocket will obviously make a lot of noise and disturb the inhabitants of nearby cities. And SpaceX does not need problems with them, because once it has already quarreled with the inhabitants of the village of Boca Chica, next to which its private cosmodrome is located.

Even conventional rockets make a lot of noise when launched. The noise from a huge Starship can be several times stronger

At the moment, the Starship spacecraftis under development. Its first launch can be carried out at the end of 2021, but only on condition that it passes all the necessary tests. During one of the preliminary launches, the prototype was able to climb to an altitude of 12 kilometers, but during landing did not have time to brake and exploded. But the company was ready for such an outcome and was not particularly surprised at the result. It is known that in 2021 there will be even more Starship test launches than before. I wrote more about some of SpaceX's plans for 2021 in this article.

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If all goes to plan and the Starshipafter all, it will be created, in the next 10 years people will finally be able to fly to Mars. Many people are confident that this will be the next step in space exploration. However, some scientists will not share the joy of the first flight of people to Mars. For example, astrobiologist Samantha Rolfe believes that humans can bring with them bacteria that could kill potentially living creatures on Mars. It is also possible that Martian conditions will be too extreme for astronauts. You can read more about the dangers of flying to the Red Planet by following this link.