Google has made its ambitions public knowledge from the beginning. Now, the company is reaching the sky. Along with Fidelity, the search engine giant just made an investment in SpaceX or Space Exploration Technologies. Founded by Elon Musk, this is a private rocketry company. This move could actually benefit Google in achieving its aim of taking satellite internet to the most remote places of the world and provide SpaceX with enough money that its founder can achieve his dream of reaching Mars. Google may not just be looking for a payoff from this investment, but may also be interested in getting into orbit.
Last year, the American firm spent $500 million for purchasing Skybox Imaging that manufactures imaging satellites of high quality and small size. Satellite imagery is already offered by Google in Google Earth, but the company has to purchase these images from several sources. The company’s executives have often said that the quality of these images is uneven in most cases. Apart from that, the company may also be thinking of developing satellites with other sensors such as infrared detectors that can indicate the condition of crops or even lasers that can penetrate the canopies of the forest for providing information about the terrain underneath.
Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of the company, are both passionate about space exploration. Early in the history of the firm, employees have been given lectures about developing space elevators that would be able to launch objects off the Earth theoretically at a much lower cost as opposed to rockets. On the more practical level, the company has been trying to revolutionize the business of internet connectivity through high-altitude balloons that could provide connections to people in remote corners of the globe. It is also possible to use the same transmission technology on satellites as well.
The search engine giant is also competing with Facebook, which is also interested in promoting connectivity because of which it bought a drone company last year. The products of this firm have the capability of carrying internet devices. Due to their investment, Fidelity and Google will now own about 10% of SpaceX collectively. The vice president for corporate development at Google, Don Harrison, who will also join the board at SpaceX said that it becomes easier for people to gain access to information with imaging satellites and other space-based applications. Nonetheless, Google isn’t the first company to hop onto this bandwagon.
Along with Qualcomm, Virgin Group had announced their investment in 648 satellites for internet connectivity last week. A manufacturer of satellites that are the size of a shoebox called Planet Labs that offers Earth imagery also revealed on Tuesday that it had been given $95 million for financing. SpaceX had had trouble in the beginning, but was finally able to stabilize in 2008. The biggest slice of the company is owned by NASA and it has several contracts ongoing with it. Recently, the company has also gotten popular because of its near breakthroughs, but it is yet to be seen if it will be successful in the future.