SpaceX is set to pick up $1 billion in its latest funding round, with Google and investment firm Fidelity together coughing up the cash. The investment means the two companies will collectively own just shy of 10 percent of SpaceX.
According to a statement confirming the news, Elon Musk’s company said the money would be used to support “continued innovation in the areas of space transport, reusability, and satellite manufacturing.”
The billionaire businessman just a few days ago announced plans for a project to build satellites to bring Internet connectivity to remote parts of the world, with any generated profits going toward his highly ambitious plan to get humans on Mars.
Google, too, happens to be in the middle of a long-running sky-based initiative to bring the Internet to far flung corners of the globe, so the Mountain View company is effectively doubling its chances of success with its latest investment.
Musk’s Internet plan involves a network of hundreds of satellites orbiting Earth around 750 miles up. The service, which is predicted to take around five years to develop at a cost of $10 billion, could potentially offer Internet speeds that “rival fiber optic cables on land,” Musk said.
According to the International Telecommunications Union, more than half of the world’s population currently has no Internet access. With money to be made through controlling a chunk of the Internet and expanding connectivity, it’s no surprise that there are other companies out there with similar plans to SpaceX and Google. Facebook, for example, has joined forces with a number of big-name tech firms on a project that’s likely to involve not satellites but drones the size of large passenger planes.
Additionally, Richard Branson’s Virgin Group recently announced it’s joined Qualcomm to invest in OneWeb, a firm that builds satellites also aimed at spreading the Internet around the world.