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Google’s investment talks with Virgin Galactic show stratospheric ambitions

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo.Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo.
Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo.Photo: Jesse Chehak

With every passing day, Google seems headed even deeper into space.

A day after announcing plans to acquire satellite company Skybox Imaging, Google is reportedly in talks to invest in Sir Richard Branson’s space tourism company, Virgin Galactic, according to Sky News.

The deal would allegedly give Google (GOOG) the ability to launch the satellites it’s acquiring from Skybox Imaging more easily. Sky News, citing people familiar with the matter, said that the companies have been in talks for the last few months, and that they are “said to be at an advanced stage.”

Google has plans to take part in a joint venture with Virgin Galactic in order to make use of the company’s space technology, the report said. Secondly, Google will spend approximately $30 million in return for a 1.5%, according to insiders.

Google declined to comment to Fortune.

Through its acquisition of Skybox, meanwhile, Google has hopes to improve its mapping imagery and spread Internet access around the world. Google is also experimenting with balloons to provide wireless Internet access in remote location and recently acquired a company that makes high-altitude solar-powered drones, to do much of the same.