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Google invests in Virgin Galactic

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Just after buying the SkyBox satellite imaging company, and while moving to build a satellite internet operation.

Larry Page is an Elon Musk buddy, so the speculation is SpaceX will do the launches. Just the internet satellites could number 360 birds, likely launched several at a time.

Some could also ride Virgin Galactica's LauncherOne smallsat launcher, but it would require an upgrade to be capable of that much mass.

Fresh from its $500 million acquisition of satellite specialist Skybox Imaging, Google appears to be ready to make another space-related investment. Sky News reports that the search giant is in advanced talks to take a minority stake in Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic business (which already counted Skybox Imaging as a potential customer) with a view to getting its internet satellite project off the ground. Google may invest around $30 million into the company, which is set to begin commercial flights to space later this year, forming a joint venture that would see Virgin Galactic offer up its technology in return.

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