January 20, 2021

The Journal of Petroleun Technoly (JPT) reveals that “Two deepwater rigs that were likely destined for the scrap yard appear to have found a second lease on life as offshore launchpads.”
In June 2020 space.com reported that SpaceX was in the process of hiring offshore operations engineers to develop the launch and landing platforms.
The aim was to develop floating spaceports for Starship, its next-gen transportation system designed to take people to and from the moon, Mars and anywhere on Earth they want to go.
Eon Musk said, “SpaceX is building floating, superheavy-class spaceports for Mars, moon & hypersonic travel around Earth.”
JPT continued, “This is according to various reports that claim SpaceX is linked to the purchase of a pair of semisubmersibles from London-based offshore drilling contractor Valaris before it filed for bankruptcy protection last year.”
“The development was first reported on Twitter by reporters with NASASpaceFlight, an independent website covering the space industry, who shared photos of a drilling rig in Brownsville, Texas, which sits along the Gulf of Mexico. The images showed a rig named Deimos and the website reported that a second rig named Phobos is also sitting quayside in Brownsville. Deimos and Phobos are the names of the two moons of Mars.”

In August 2020 Valaris sold six drilling units before filing for bankruptcy. According to the company, the ultra-deepwater drillships Valaris DS-3 and Valaris DS-5 were sold for recycling to the Turkish ship recycling company Rota Shipping. The ultra-depwater semi-submersibles Valaris 8500 and 8501 have been sold for conversion for $3,500,000 each to an undisclosed buyer.
The ultra-depwater semi-submersibles Valaris 8500 and 8501 have been sold for conversion for $3,500,000 each to an undisclosed buyer.
ENSCO 8500, was the first of the company’s seven ultra deepwater semisubmersible rigs constructed by Keppel FELS in Singapore. Ensco 8500 was delivered in Singapore in September 2008 and Ensco 8501 in June 2009.
The owner of the newly renamed rigs is a company called Lone Star Minerals which public records show was incorporated in Texas in June. Twitter users revealed that the limited liability company has a single principal listed: Bret Johnsen, the CFO and president of strategic acquisitions at SpaceX.
The company is known to have used a similar arrangement for its rocket landing barges that it leases from a wholly owned subsidiary. SpaceX also operates a test launch site in Boca Chica, Texas, located about 20 miles from Brownsville.
In 1999, the semi-submersible Odyssey became the first drilling offshore drilling unit to be converted into a semi-submersible spacecraft launch platform. Built for ODECO in 1983, the semi-submersible was called Ocean Ranger II.
(Source: Valaris/JPT/Wikipedia – Image : Deimos semi-submersible in Brownsville, Tx/Jack Beyer/NASA spaceflight.com)