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June 2, 2014

Google to invest $1bn to launch satellites

Microsoft thought of this in the 1990s and it never got off the ground.

By CBR Staff Writer

Google is planning to invest $1bn to launch about 180 low orbiting satellites to improve internet access in remote areas across the globe.

Company’s satellite venture will be led by O3b Networks founder Greg Wyler, who had recently joined Google recently, according to Bloomberg.

People familiar to the development also told the newswire that the company is planning to recruit people from satellite company Space Systems/Loral for the project.

Currently about 10 and 20 people are already working with Wyler on the project.

Google is planning to spend about $1bn to more than $3bn in the project and based on the final design of the project, the number of satellites could be doubled.

The satellites will be hovering at lower orbit compared to traditional satellites to provide internet connectivity.

Earlier this year, Google acquired Titan Aerospace, a solar-powered aerial vehicles (UAV) manufacturer in New Mexico, as part of its plan to expand internet access to remote areas across the globe.

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Titan is currently making solar-powered atmospheric satellites that are expected to fly at an altitude of 65,000ft and remain in flight for about five years.

The company is also working on its Project Loon, which plans to launch high-altitude balloons to provide broadband service to remote parts of the world.

Facebook is also working on similar venture of using satellite, drone and other technology to provide internet connectivity to inaccessible parts of the world.

The company has already hired experts from NASA’s Propulsion Lab and its Ames Research Center to work on its "Connectivity Lab" project.

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