It looks like Google is going to throw a ten-figure sum into Elon Musk's space internet dream. Both The Information and The Wall Street Journal report that the search giant is finalizing a $1 billion investment in SpaceX's recently revealed effort to offer global internet service through small satellites. It's a crazy idea that just might work.
Musk recently revealed some details about his as yet unnamed space internet project to Bloomberg. A team of about 5o employees at the new SpaceX office in Seattle are working on a project that would use about 700 small satellites to provide internet access to the entire planet, with a strong focus on rural and developing areas. SpaceX declined to comment on the plans and the Google investment in an email to Gizmodo.
It's a popular and ambitious effort in which other billionaires like Richard Branson and Mark Zuckerberg are also investing sizable sums. (Branson likes the satellite idea, while Zuck is taking a drone-focused approach.) Google itself has been thinking about building a balloon-borne space internet for years, though most people think that the so-called Project Loon is a bit loony—or just a UFOs.
Sooooo… Who will be the first billionaire to build a space internet?! A better question: Who would've believed ten years ago we'd be asking that question in 2015? Not this guy. [WSJ, The Information via Gizmodo ES]
Image via SpaceX