PortandTemrinal.com, August 24, 2020
LOS ANGELES – SpaceX boss Elon Musk revealed, or to be more accurate – reaffirmed, today that his intention long term is to have the Starship/Super Heavy rockets launch from ocean spaceports.
Musk made the announcement on Twitter in response to the news that Russia says it will restore the Sea Launch cosmodrome. Russia’s announcement was made by Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov today at the Army-2020 forum.
Sea Launch is/was a multinational spacecraft launch service that used a mobile maritime launch platform for equatorial launches of commercial payloads on specialized Zenit-3SL rockets through 2014.
Sea Launch was founded by four companies from four countries (Norway, Russia, Ukraine, USA), which shared the original ownership of Cayman Islands-registered Sea Launch.
After reorganizing from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2010, a majority share of the company was acquired by Russian interests. Sea Launch mothballed its ships and put operations on long-term hiatus in 2014, following the Russian military intervention in Ukraine. The two vessels that serve as a floating launch platform and command ship for Sea Launch are now sitting idle in a Russian port in Vladivostok.
SpaceX is currently developing the Starship, a fully-reusable stainless steel rocket designed to transport up to 100 people at once to Mars and beyond.
The rocket is also expected to enable trips around the Earth at hyperfast speed, cutting down the eight-hour flight from London to New York down to a 30-minute rocket trip.
The rocket would see around 1,000 people strapped in and traveling at Mach 25 speeds, all with a ticket that costs a bit more than an economy class flight.
Offshore, ocean spaceports make sense for SpaceX. Rockets are much too noisy and dangerous to launch over crowded cities. Musk in the past has explained that the spaceports would likely be placed around 20 miles offshore away from the cities that they serve. This would be necessary, he wrote, to maintain “acceptable noise levels, especially for frequent daily flights.”
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