The idea of a global internet service, floating above the Earth in some way or another, has already been explored and exploited in a small way by Google through their Google X Labs Project Loon, a system designed to project signals below an ever-present ring of atmospheric balloons.
Now however, it looks like Google have been impressed by visionary Elon Musk, as the company in in talks to provide a large sum into the inventor’s previously proposed plan to do something a bit similar – but instead of doing it with balloons, Musk proposes to utilize his existing SpaceX company and their tried and tested delivery rockets to send up satellites to project internet around the globe.
One of the big bonuses of what Musk offers is a soon to be completed reusable delivery rocket, although over the weekend the prototype crashed dramatically. Favorable responses to the crash did however come from the CEO and his company, they promise they’ll keep trying.
As for the Google investment, The Information reports that talks are currently on between the two companies to potentially invest $1 billion of Google’s money into the venture. Representatives from both parties have not yet commented.
There is certainly somewhat of a new space race on at the moment. Last time, two major superpowers vied for the prestige of being first to the moon – with rocket programs backed by massive military spending into intercontinental ballistic missiles. This meant that at that point funding was somewhat less of an issue.
Cut to 2015, where the race is now to be the first to deploy the internet from space, or at least suborbital altitudes, and we have two major companies looking to be the first to do it. Google’s main rival at the current point in time is Facebook, who reportedly were looking to deploy the system from either drones, satellites, or via lasers and were in the process of acquiring Titan Aerospace, a small team working on solar powered drones.
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Google jumped ahead of Facebook to grab Titan, who are now on the Google roster, which may also include Musk and SpaceX. Obviously, the one who has Musk in their pocket stands the greatest chance of success – the unrepentant is somewhat of a big name in everything vehicular and next-gen, with $9 billion in funding from investors already on his books.
However, there’s more than one way to get the internet into the stratosphere, or even beyond. Whilst Google’s multiple fronts into the tech are out in the open, Facebook is yet to show their hand in any meaningful way. Could there be a less ambitious counter to Google’s grand design of an internet broadcasting satellite fleet, and if so, are Facebook going to be the ones to bring it out?
Via: The Information