Elon Musk Confirms Ocean Launchpad, Makes Historic Deal to Send Humans Into Space

The spaceport will float on water and serve as the jump-off point for SpaceX's Mars-bound vehicle, Starship.

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By Emily Rella

Patrick T. Fallon | Getty Images

To the moon … from the ocean?

In the battle to be the first person or company to conquer outer space, billionaire entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson continue to find new and innovative ways to set themselves apart in the realm of space travel and exploration — since conquering Earth has already been checked off their checklists.

Among these trying to make their mark in outer space is of course Elon Musk, whose space company SpaceX successfully launched four humans into space via its Dragon vehicle this year with plans to eventually commercialize multiplanetary travel.

Related: You Can Now Take A Ride In Jeff Bezos' Rocket Ship for $2.8 Million

This week, the Tesla (TSLA) founder and CEO announced two major updates to SpaceX — that an ocean launchpad is in the works, with plans to begin testing in 2022, and that three more private astronaut missions have been locked down and set to soar through the end of 2023.

Never one to shy away from the social media platform, Musk took it to Twitter to share news about the ocean pad.

"Ocean spaceport Deimos is under construction for launch next year," he wrote from his account to his 8.6 million followers.

The spaceport will quite literally float on water and serve as the jump-off point for SpaceX's Mars-bound vehicle, Starship.

Deimos is the Greek god of dread and terror — quite fitting when thinking about all of the unknown in the great beyond.

Related: Elon Musk's SpaceX Is Putting a 'Literal Dogecoin on the Literal Moon'

It is also the name of the smallest moon belonging to Mars and the name that Musk gave to one of the offshore oil rigs SpaceX purchased earlier this year to use for water launches in future exploration of Mars.

The company had hoped to have Starship make it to Mars by the end of 2020, but after several failed missions, Musk altered his vision, telling press in December 2020 that getting humans onto Mars was highly possible "about six years from now."

As for getting humans into space, SpaceX also signed a novel deal with Axiom Space to send three more Dragon missions into space over the next three years using Axiom's private crews in a historic move.

The first three missions that sent humans to the International Space Station — Demo-2, Crew-1, and Crew-2 — were flown by trained government astronauts, making the next three missions signed in the deal the first flights with private crews.

"Axiom was founded on a vision of lasting commercial development of space," Axiom President and CEO Michael Suffredini said in a press release. "We are on track to enable that future by managing the first-ever private missions to the ISS as a precursor to our development of the world's first commercial space station. SpaceX has blazed the trail with reliable, commercial human launch capability and we are thrilled to partner with them on a truly historic moment."

The first mission, dubbed Ax-1, is set to launch after January 2022 on SpaceX's Dragon, with the other missions spaced (pun intended) out about six months apart moving froward.

"The growing partnership between Axiom and SpaceX thus lays the groundwork for a long-term destination for Dragon, more humans in space, and a burgeoning economy in low-Earth orbit," Axiom Space said in a statement. "Realizing a dream long-held by advocates of commercial space."

Related: Elon Musk's SpaceX sent four humans into space

Emily Rella

Entrepreneur Staff

News Writer

Emily Rella is a news writer at Entrepreneur.com. Previously, she was an editor at Verizon Media. Her coverage spans features, business, lifestyle, tech, entertainment, and lifestyle. She is a 2015 graduate of Boston College and a Ridgefield, CT native. Find her on Twitter at @EmilyKRella.

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