While most of the market expected Google to invest cash into Elon Musk’s 4000-satellite project given that Google has already talked of backing similar ventures (Project Loon), it has now emerged that the investment cash will go into Musk’s satellite launching rocket venture SpaceX.
At the moment it would appear that Musk’s satellite project is going to be held within a SpaceX-structured holding company. But $1 billion is a useful sum even if not all of it comes from Google. Google is joining with Fidelity Investments to stump up its stake.
This fresh cash suggests that SpaceX will be valued at more than $10 billion. Google/Fidelity will own just short of 10 per cent in SpaceX.
“Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) has raised a billion dollars in a financing round with two new investors Google and Fidelity,” SpaceX said in a statement. “They join existing investors Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Valor Equity Partners and Capricorn.”
“[The investment] will be used to support continued innovation in the areas of space transport, reusability and satellite manufacturing,” SpaceX said.
Google itself is already building satellite assets. Last June it bought satellite imaging company Skybox. Rival social network operator Facebook is also on record as saying that it is looking to satellites and drones to provide the Internet to a wider audience.