Friday, June 27, 2014

Google's Aerospace Acquisitions - Endless Possibilities

This article was originally published by Seeking Alpha on June 18, 2014

By Sarfaraz A. Khan. Research Asst. Ali Ilahi

Summary: Google is reportedly mulling over buying a minority stake in Virgin Galactic.The acquisition will be a part of Google’s larger move in the aerospace industry.Google Maps can become much bigger than anyone has imagined, impacting the decision making of individuals and businesses.

Last year, Google (GOOG) (GOOGL) launched "Project Loon" through which the company used air balloons to provide internet access to billions living in remote or rural areas. One of its balloons, the Ibis-167, has been around the world in just 22 days. Google is now working on other balloons that can float for more than 100 days.

Google has now made three major acquisitions in the aerospace industry, expanding its operations from balloons to solar-drones and satellites.

Shopping Spree

Google is reportedly acquiring a stake in Richard Branson's commercial spaceflight company Virgin Galactic. The latter, which could start its commercial operations as early as this year, is valued at around $2 billion. Google could acquire a 1.5% stake in the company through a $30 million investment.

Google will be eyeing the company's LauncherOne which can kickstart Google's space program by launching its micro satellites in the low-earth orbit. The search engine giant is expected to spend between $1 billion and $3 billion on developing 180 small satellites.

LauncherOne is virgin Galactic's launch vehicle designed to handle smaller payloads of up to 225 kilograms. That should be enough to support Skybox Imaging's satellites. Earlier in February, the company revealed that its new Earth observation satellites weighed around 120 kilograms. ... read full article at Seeking Alpha