Updated at 4:45 p.m. EST
Days after Elon Musk announced that his SpaceX venture was undertaking a quest to spread Internet connectivity across the planet -- and beyond -- by sending hundreds of tiny satellites into space, Google has whipped out its checkbook.
The search giant and Fidelity Investments have collectively tendered a $1 billion investment in Musk’s SpaceX space transport company. The deal values SpaceX at more than $10 billion, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Together, Google and Fidelity now own just under 10 percent of SpaceX, alongside existing investors like Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Valor Equity Partners and Capricorn.
This isn’t Google’s first attempt to spread Internet access to billions of unconnected citizens in underserved regions. In June, the company was rumored to have invested $1 billion in a comparable endeavor led by former Google exec Greg Wyler -- whose startup, OneWeb, may end up becoming a SpaceX competitor.
Google has also looked to both high-altitude balloons and drones in order to widen the web’s reach.
Its Project Loon, launched in June 2013, consists of developing Internet-transmitting balloons that float through the earth’s stratosphere. And last summer, Google acquired Titan Aerospace, a company that uses high-altitude solar drone robots to establish Internet connections in remote areas.