110799

Is Google going to invest in, and partner with, SpaceX?

A partnership makes sense as both have talked about using satellites to connect the world

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
January 19, 2015
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3b81

This weekend, when SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed his plan to use satellites to bring everyone on Earth (and beyond) onto the Internet, I spoke of Google as a potential competitor for the company. After all, this has been a goal of Google's for a while now.

That may not exactly be the case, though. In fact, it looks like the two may actually become partners in the endeavor, as Google is currently in talks to invest in the rocket making company, according to a report from The Information on Monday. 

SpaceX has so far raised $245.5 million, most recently a $30 million round from Draper Fisher Jurvetson in late 2012, which valued it at between $4 billion and $5 billion. The Google investment would at least double that, valuing SpaceX at $10 billion. No investment amount has been reported.

If the two companis do come together, the deal, which is still in the works, would "support the development of SpaceX satellites that could beam low-cost Internet around the globe to billions who don’t have it."

In an interview with Bloomberg this weekend, Musk talked about as as of now unnamed project, which would involve the launch of a hundreds of communication satellites that will orbit the earth in order to give the entire planet faster, cheaper Internet.

Details are scarce right now, but he did say that the project will be based in the company's new Seattle office. It will start out with 60 people on board, which could grow to 1,000 in just a few years. And that it will cost roughly $10 billion to build.

The two companies have a common goal, as Google has also has made connectivity a priority, first with its Project Loon initiative, in which it planned to deliver Internet to the world by using balloons.

That idea is a little out there, of course, so the company is also trying to do it with more conventional means as well, revealing last year that it was planning on spending over $1 billion, in order to deploy a fleet of satellites, which will then help the company provide Internet access to all regions of the globe. lt  may also use drones to complete the task: Google purchased Titan Aerospace, a company that makes high-altitude, solar-powered drones, in April of  2014. The drones can reportedly fly for years without needing a recharge.

Combining the resources of the two companies would no doubt speed up the process of getting the entire human race onto the Internet.

VatorNews reached out to both Google and SpaceX for confirmation of the talks, as well as any further details about the impending partnership. Google was unavailable at this time, and SpaceX declined to comment.

Connecting the next three billion

Facebook has also made wider connectivity a high priority.

Mark Zuckerberg has been spearheading the Internet.org project, which was first announced in August of 2013 with the stated goals of making access more affordable, making the use of data more efficient and helping businesses drive access. The end result of the project being that it would connect the next five billion people on the planet to the Internet.

Through its work, Internet.org has already given Internet access to 3 million new people in the Philippines and Paraguay alone.

In March of last year, it was also revealed that Facebook had started a Connectivity Lab, which the company was going to use build drones to help get the entire world online. With the drones, Facebook can give the Internet to the people.

Also involved in the idea is entrepreneur Greg Wyler, who announced earlier this week a new startup called OneWeb, which "plans to build, launch and operate a low-earth-orbit satellite constellation to help bring high-speed Internet and telephony to billions of people around the world."

It was also announced that Qualcomm Incorporated and The Virgin Group had come on  as investors, with Qualcomm Executive Chairman Dr. Paul Jacobs and Virgin Group Founder Sir Richard Branson joining the company's board of directors. 

(Image source: businessinsider.com)


Related news