Google finalized a $1 billion investment in Elon Musk’s space exploration company, SpaceX.
SpaceX was responsible for the launch of the Falcon 9 rocket and the only private corporation to both launch a rocket into space and have it return to earth. Google’s investment—which brings the value of the company up to $10 billion—will most likely, however, not be used for spaceflight missions.
According to Newsweek, Elon Musk revealed future plans for SpaceX last week in Seattle, including plans to deploy 700 satellites into space that would be able to provide global internet access. The satellites would move in geosynchronous orbit at an elevation of 750 miles above the earth—much lower than satellites are usually stationed. The lower elevation, as well as the location of the satellites in outer space, would allow for faster internet speeds.
This outer space internet endeavor by SpaceX is one of several initiatives various companies are working to push forward as the FCC begins opening more radio frequencies to wireless services. OneWeb, a startup based in Rwanda, Facebook and Google have all begun plans for developing a “second internet”, with Google having already written a letter to the FCC outlining the potential of opening wireless spectrums above 24 GHz.
According to Gigiaom, Google has been working on plans for a new internet since 2013 with Project Loon, a program built around the deployment of a network of balloons into the earth’s stratosphere. That, along with Google’s acquisition of Titan Aerospace, a solar-powered drones company, last year give strong indication to Google’s intentions regarding connectivity.
This new wave of innovation towards internet access and the possible availability of new wireless spectrum could be the answer to not only providing faster internet, but to providing that internet access to everyone, even those living in remote or underdeveloped areas. At this point, and with a steady stream of contenders jumping into the ring, the question is not if, but when and who will lead in the race for the second internet.
Photo Credit: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center via Flickr