Internet giant Google Inc. may make a $30 million investment in commercial spaceship developer Virgin Galactic LLC, according to media reports on Friday.
The Mountain View search company apparently is seeking a small stake in Virgin Galactic, which is building and testing its SpaceShipTwo suborbital spacecraft at Mojave Air & Space Port in the Antelope Valley.
The investment by Google would give the company access to another Virgin Galactic project – LauncherOne, a rocket that would carry small satellites into earth orbit, according to aerospace industry publication Sky News.
Google has ambitious project to put hundreds of satellites in low-Earth orbit. The satellites reportedly would be used to improve the company’s map service and extend Internet access in areas currently underserved.
LauncherOne is being developed and built at the Mojave Air & Space Port and would not be ready for use until about 2016. The project involves the use of a carrier aircraft that takes the rocket to an altitude of about 50,000 feet, where it would then launch into space with payloads of up to 500 pounds.
Both Google and Virgin Galactic declined to comment to Sky News on any deal between them.