Update: it’s official – Google and investment firm Fidelity bought a 10 percent stake in SpaceX for $1 billion, resulting in a $10 billion valuation for Elon Musk’s company.

Original post:

Two of the world’s most forward-thinking and ambitious companies could team up soon. Google is reportedly close to making a huge investment in Elon Musk’s SpaceX.

News of the plans comes from independent reports by the WSJ and The Information. Google is said to be mulling an investment that would value SpaceX at around $10 billion. According to an insider cited by WSJ, Google’s investment could be around 1 billion, but it’s not clear what stake of SpaceX would Google get for its money.

Why is Google interested in a company that flies rockets to the International Space Station? It’s about Internet – last week, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed his latest venture – establishing a fleet of low-orbit satellites that would beam Internet around the world, including to the vast areas of the world that are currently underserved or lacking connectivity.

Google is very interested in bringing online as many people as possible, because more Internet users equates to more potential revenue for Google’s massive ad business. In order to connect the next billion, Google is currently experimenting with high-altitude balloons through Project Loon, as well as drones, through the Titan Aerospace acquisition. Musk’s satellite Internet project (which one day, the entrepreneur hopes, will help connect Mars) and Google’s ambitions for global coverage seem to go hand in hand.

Musk estimated that building and launching the satellite-based network would cost at least $10 billion and five years of work. There are several major technical challenges to overcome, including finding a way for devices to communicate with satellites overhead – possible solutions include radio and lasers.

Google already has some space operations – the company acquired satellite imagery company Skybox in June 2014.

What do you think of Google getting involved with SpaceX?

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