Update on SpaceX’s Gulf Coast Fleet; A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship and Phobos launch platform

SpaceX has been building not one but two seafaring platforms on the Gulf Coast just a few hours from each other. One is SpaceX’s newest droneship, A Shortfall of Gravitas, and the other is the Starship sea launch platform named Phobos. Both of which have been worked on extensively over the last few months.

Phobos has come a long way since January

It was announced back in January that SpaceX acquired two old oil rigs to convert into launching platforms for Starship. Both are named after the moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos. Phobos, currently in Pascagoula, Mississippi, has had the most work done. While Deimos, located in the port of Brownsville, has seen little work.

When Phobos arrived in Mississippi it was fully built out to handle offshore drilling, not spaceport operations. Almost all of the structures on the platform had to be removed, making up the bulk of the work this year.

Images shared with Space Explored show that the work to clear the rig is nearly finished. A few structures still remain but the bulk of what was there has been removed.

What comes next for Phobos is unclear, no real designs for the platform have come up. SpaceX’s timeline for when they wish to launch their first Starship from the old oil rig is unknown as well. We could still be over a year away from seeing anything like a mobile spaceport, or things could come together in the next few months. It all depends on how fast Elon Musk wants the work to get done.

A Shortfall of Gravitas looks to be getting finishing touches

What hasn’t taken long to build-out has been SpaceX’s third droneship. We are nearing the start of sea trials for the highly decked-out barge, and some finishing touches have begun to show up.

In the last check-in, we saw the first red fire suppressant cannon mounted at the rear of the deck above Octograbber’s garage. This week a second cannon was installed on the front structure as well as floodlights. The biggest addition this week was the addition of several orange life rings around the outside edge.

These are the flotation devices that can be thrown at workers if they have fallen overboard. The safety equipment is required for the barge to be operated out at sea, which could come soon. The tug Finn Falgout that arrived the other week is still sitting nearby ready to begin sea trials as soon as the droneship finishes its upgrades.

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