Days after Elon Musk announced that his SpaceX venture was undertaking a quest to spread Internet connectivity across the planet – and beyond – by sending hundreds of tiny satellites into space, Google is reportedly whipping out its checkbook.
The search giant is close to investing $1 billion in Musk’s SpaceX space transport company, reports The Wall Street Journal, in a deal that would value SpaceX at more than $10 billion. Google’s potential stake in SpaceX is unknown.
This isn’t Google’s first attempt to spread Internet access to billions of unconnected citizens in underserved regions. In June, the company was rumored to invest $1 billion in a comparable endeavor led by former Google exec Greg Wyler – whose startup, OneWeb, may end up becoming a SpaceX competitor.
Google has also looked to both high-altitude balloons and drones in order to widen the web’s reach.
Its Project Loon, launched in June 2013, consists of developing Internet-transmitting balloons that float through the earth’s stratosphere. And last summer, Google acquired Titan Aerospace, a company that uses high-altitude solar drone robots to establish Internet connections in remote areas.