Google is reportedly leading a new private investment in Elon Musk's Space X according to The Information, valuing the space company at $10 billion (£6.60 billion).
The search engine is most interested in Space X's work on low-orbit satellites, capable of providing low-cost internet to undeveloped countries in the next five years. Google wants to utilise these satellites to provide Google services to new internet users as soon as possible.
Space X is still a private company, and apart from NASA contracts it does not make billions in revenue to keep it sustainable. In order to invest in new technologies like low-orbit satellites, internet on Mars and potentially colonisation, it needs private venture funding.
Google is looking for a big stake in the company with this latest round, apparently investing $1 billion (£660 million) into Space X. This would give the search giant a 10 per cent stake in Space X, although Elon Musk might have some problems with Google owning that much of his company.
Other investors will play smaller parts in the new round of funding, these investors have not been disclosed.
Space X is not the only company looking to create a constellation of satellites, Virgin Galactic and Qualcomm have invested in OneWeb—a previous Space X partner—looking to put 600 satellites in space. Ex-Googler Greg Wyler apparently had disagreements with Musk, forcing him to launch OneWeb and seek new investment.
Facebook is also working on its own satellite service to provide the social network to the next two billion internet users. Google has already invested $500 million (£330 million) in SkyBox Imaging, alongside working on Project Loon as another potential low-cost internet service.
All of these projects look to bring internet service to Central Africa, South America and some Middle Eastern countries, who cannot afford or find internet at the current time.