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Google to conquer SPACE with Virgin Galactic deal

James Temperton
12 Jun 2014
Virgin Galactic
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Google after some of Sir Richard Branson's space tourism pie as search giant looks to launch satellites into low-earth orbit

Google is in talks with Virgin Galactic to launch hundreds of satellites into low-Earth orbit to extend internet access to billions of people.

Negotiations between the two companies have been taking place for months and a deal could be announced imminently. Amongst other things the deal will give Google access to the company's satellite launch technology.

Sky News reports that Google will invest millions of dollars into a joint venture to help boost Virgin Galactic's space tourism business, while gaining use of its launch facilities.

It will also spend £17.8m on a small stake in the Virgin Galactic holding company. At its current valuation of £1.2bn, Google's stake would be around 1.5 per cent.

Reports claim that the deal is yet to be finalised and that details could change before it is confirmed.

Google's imminent deal with Virgin Galactic comes after the company spend £297m on Skybox Imaging, a start-up satellite company. Skybox has developed small, low-cost satellites which are capable of photographing the Earth from space.

In April the search giant snapped up Titan Aerospace with the aim of flying drones for years on end to provide internet access across the globe.

Google has continually looked outside conventional technology as a means to expand its customer base and advertising revenue. Bringing more people online in remote parts of the world is seen as a key challenge for Google.

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