Days after news broke that Google acquired satellite maker Skybox for $500 million, Sky News reports the company is now in talks to buy a $30 million stake in Virgin Galactic, the space flight company founded by Sir Richard Branson.
Google’s investment in a minority stake would leave Virgin Galactic valued at $2 billion. The report also details a joint venture to which Google would contribute millions of dollars. Together, the two companies could build the tools to launch Google’s planned constellation of satellites.
Virgin Galactic is generally known for selling tickets to send civilians into space (on flights that are perennially a year or two away), but it also maintains the LauncherOne, a rocket that launches from the SpaceShipOne plane. LauncherOne is capable of releasing cargo into Earth’s orbit, including satellites.
Large internet companies like Google and Facebook are in a race to bring the entire world online to increase their audiences. Google bought drone maker Titan Aerospace earlier this year, while Facebook purchased drone company Zephyr. Google is also pursuing Project Loon, which makes use of balloons to provide internet.