back to article Elon Musk snowed under with Googley dollars for Space Internet

SpaceX has confirmed a meaty injection of cash from Google and Fidelity, after it was reported that the ad giant was closing in on an investment deal of up to $1bn with Elon Musk's firm. It means that Google and Fidelity now "collectively own just under 10 per cent of the company," SpaceX said in a brief statement, without …

  1. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Big Brother

    As a result, SpaceX employees will see pop-up ads on their monitors during take off sequences.

    1. JonW
      Coat

      could be worse...

      ..if it was Microsoft, it'd be all "You look like you're trying to launch a recoverable space craft. Do you want help with that?"

      1. Otto is a bear.

        Re: could be worse...

        Mr. Clippy where have you been hiding.

        1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

          Re: could be worse...

          Too late!

          It looks like you are trying to land a reusable first stage - can I help you with that?

          ***boom***

      2. Mattjimf

        Re: could be worse...

        Or... "Life Support has stopped responding and needs to shut down"

        1. 's water music Silver badge

          Re: could be worse...

          Or... "Life Support has stopped responding and needs to shut down"

          Rocket throttle has stopped responding and really, really needs to shut down.

          Docking operation will complete in 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 35 seconds, 1024 years, 5 minutes

          1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

            Re: could be worse...

            Abort!!

            - BAD COMMAND OF FILE NAME.

      3. Daniel B.

        Re: could be worse...

        Microsoft on SpaceX would be more like "bluescreen on launch", wouldn't it?

        BOOM!

      4. Scott Broukell
        Coat

        Re: could be worse...

        ..if it was Microsoft - everything about the project could potentially become ElonGated. (but still, I suppose that's the general shape of rocket ships, so it might work)

        1. Simon Harris Silver badge

          Re: could be worse...

          If it was Microsoft, the Falcon 9 would be scrapped and replaced with the Falcon 10.

      5. Phuq Witt

        Re: could be worse...

        Er... folks.

        The whole point about satirising the news is that you make a joke about the thing that (you know) 'actually happened' —not invent something else which didn't happen and then trot out a load of unfunny variations of the same lame joke about the thing which 'didn't happen'.

        It's like me saying "if SpaceX was called SpaceY, we could ask 'Y are they doing this?'" or "If Elon Musk was called Elon Dusk would it be a 'dark day' for space exploration?".

        See. It just doesn't work, does it? So I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you all to stay behind after school and write some new quips. Thank you.

    2. choleric

      What about if you use AdblockPlus? Will you still see news about SpaceX?

  2. petur

    10% is a hefty chunk?

    see title

    1. Lord Raa

      Re: 10% is a hefty chunk?

      It's heftier than the chunk of SpaceX that I own.

  3. Ashton Black

    Sat Comms.

    Who is the target market for this? I don't see billions of $$$ in the rural, currently not covered by anyone, market and generally speaking urban areas are covered by landlines which have, by and large, better latency. (If not bandwidth)

    1. Rustident Spaceniak
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Sat Comms.

      That is *not* the 64.000$ question. That's the ten beeellion dollar question.

      Paris doesn' seem to know. And Elon isn't telling anytime soon.

    2. Daniel B.

      Re: Sat Comms.

      Probably a good idea to have competition in the US rural areas where cableco monopolies like Comcast own the internet. And it could be a good option for airlines that offer inflight WiFi access.

      Alternatively, it's a good way to get uncensored internet in some countries like China ;)

      1. DougS Silver badge

        People who live outside the US just don't understand

        In rural areas, there is no cable or telco internet AT ALL. That's true in probably 50% of the continental US landmass, if not more. People in Europe just don't realize what rural is, because "rural" areas in the UK or Europe are far denser than rural areas of the US. The farms are smaller, and less distant from the nearest populated area.

        There are a surprising amount of area where people can't even receive OTA TV, not because of hills or mountains getting in the way, but because of the curve of the Earth! I doubt there is anywhere inside Europe where this is true.

        The population in question isn't large, but if you assume a few hundred thousand homes where this is true, and they're willing to pay the same $30-$50/month people elsewhere in the US pay, that's $100 million a year. Now add in all the people who have other options but choose this option, people who want internet that comes with them in the RV or car, the fact this would allow cell phones to work everywhere, even in the still surprisingly vast areas (look at US cellular coverage maps in the western half of the US) where there is no coverage at all and probably never will be.

        Of course, with the number of satellites they're talking about launching, this is to cover the world, not just the US. Internet/phone coverage on fishing boats, at remote vacation destinations, for aid workers in Africa, and so forth. LEO internet is far faster and has much better latency than the GSO internet currently available.

        Will it be profitable? We'll see, but it is good that some are willing to invest without certainty of profit.

        1. Daniel B.

          Re: People who live outside the US just don't understand @DougS

          In rural areas, there is no cable or telco internet AT ALL. That's true in probably 50% of the continental US landmass, if not more.

          I really, really have to agree with that. I've been surprised by some people I know from the US who have commented on these woes. They barely get phone service on their landlines; cellphone coverage is "maybe Verizon", the luckier ones might get a femtocell for their home ... which only works if they also have some kind of broadband connection.

          Thus why I thought "rural USA" as a potential satellite internet customer.

    3. Stuart Moore

      Re: Sat Comms.

      I could see high speed, high(er) latency connections being very helpful to google - I assume they mirror an awful lot of data around the world but don't care if it takes a bit longer to get there than a path that doesn't have to go via space. Even if the speed is rubbish for web browsing responsiveness, most people won't care if the backups take 2 seconds longer for the "all data received" acknowledgement to come back.

      What is the typical latency of satellite net connections?

      1. LAGMonkey
        Boffin

        Re: Sat Comms.

        Well testing my latency from here in the Mid-East, I get the following from pingtest;

        London server - Coventry - 766 ms - jitter - 251 ms

        US server - washington - 654 ms - jitter 23 ms

        AUS server - sydney - 1,518ms - jitter 756 ms

        And using cmd to ping google's DNS gets the following;

        8.8.8.8 - 676 ms

        The ground station IP is registered to Globecomm Europe B.V. in the Netherlands and a bit of sluthing says that the bird I'm connected to is Telstar 12 (formaly Orion 2) parked in a 15 Deg West orbit and launched in 1999.

        http://web.archive.org/web/20120209075653/http://www.loralskynet.com/pdf/telstar12_pamphlet.pdf

        1. Rustident Spaceniak

          Re: Sat Comms.

          Well, your Telstra sat is a geostationary one that's about 40000km away from you in ME - in very rough numbers. Elon's sats will be in low Earth orbit, about 1200km or so, and probably no more than 4000km from you while you have contact with any individual one - rather less. That allows you to get your ping ten times faster, and to use a much simpler antenna into the bargain.

        2. Morten
          Alien

          Re: Sat Comms.

          That is sat in geosync orbit, 36k clicks out. This will be just 1.2k clicks out. Big difference and will cut your ping latency with hundreds of ms.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sat Comms.

      Thinking of what an information company could do on a scale of billions:

      - Sell 3 billion people cheap internet on cheap tablet computers.

      - Hire the poorest 2 billion of those people to perform image and data analysis so that they can afford the service.

      - Use analyzed data for profit.

  4. Bob Dole (tm)

    If there was any way possible, I would give spacex every single dollar I have.

    My hat is off to Elon and Branson. These guys are the future.

    1. ciaran

      I don't have any dollars

      So if you think it'd help I'll agree ;)

      If there was a way I'd give all my tax money to SpaceX.

      The Airane 5 is a bit boring. The new "Vega" launch vehicle is a bit exciting. Nothing in Europe has an exciting vision for space, and there's no money going that way either. The Kourou launch site is excellent, SpaceX should ask for a launch pad there...

      1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: I don't have any dollars

        @ciaran "Nothing in Europe has an exciting vision for space"

        I dunno...what about the Skylon/Sabre spaceplane? Get that lot working and all current bets are off! Why don't we have any eccentric European billionaires who want to back that?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "If there was any way possible, I would give spacex every single dollar I have."

      I have an ISA with Fidelity... I probably just have!

    3. Phuq Witt

      If there was "any way" possible?

      I'm pretty sure you could find a way, if you really wanted to. They've got these institutions called "Banks" which specialise in moving money from one place to another and one person to another. They're quite common and there may even be one near where you live. If you pop-in, I'm sure they'd be pleased to facilitate you giving SpaceX "every single dollar (you) have" —although this might leave you and your family homeless and destitute.

      ...or were you maybe being just a 'teensy bit' over the top?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was thinking...

    ...if all the REG readers clubbed together and bought Mr Musk a 10,000 piece jigsaw then maybe it would keep him occupied enough so that he wouldn't have the time to come up with any more crackpot ideas.

    1. John Sager

      Re: I was thinking...

      Aw, give the guy a break! At least he's not spending tax dollars on this enterprise.

      I hope they include a suicide function to de-orbit the sats at end of life.

      1. Simon Harris Silver badge

        Re: I was thinking...

        "At least he's not spending tax dollars on this enterprise."

        With all his spacy projects, he must have though about building an Enterprise.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      What's wrong with crackpot ideas?

      Why is this a crackpot idea? Hyperloop, I kind of agree there. Still, what's the harm in him pursuing crackpot ideas that never amount to anything? If I was a billionaire, I'd probably do some crackpot things too, just because I could and I don't have to worry about a bunch of money when I'll still have more than I could ever need. Isn't that better than spending all that money on art and locking it away so only I could enjoy it, or on jewels that sit in a safe all the time?

      If he's spending money on pursuing crackpot ideas, he's advancing the frontiers of technology. In the pursuit of Hyperloop he's going to have to overcome a lot of technological issues. Even if he can't solve them all, and it goes nowhere, he'll solve some of them, which may be useful to other dreams.

      If he launches all these satellites, and this company goes bankrupt, someone will buy this huge fleet of satellites for pennies on the dollar, and do something useful and profitable with them. A lot of jobs will be created to build/launch them, and people will be employed by the guy who buys up the fleet for cheap.

    3. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: I was thinking...

      Yeah, Paypal was a real crackpot idea and Tesla is encouraging more mainstream manufacturers to get in on the electric car market, which in the the States at minimum is going to make the crackpot Tesla battery factory a fair amount of crackpot money.

      Additionally almost nobody makes car sized Li batteries in the the US and certainly not to the scale necessary if electric cars were to be in the majority.

      Even SpaceX makes money from the contracts it has with NASA, although I think it gets spent pretty fast developing recoverable sections and better capsules.

      As for the crazy Hyperloop, we had one in London in 1864 and it worked as well as beig the 2nd oldest underground railway in the world.

      I'm sure some improvement could be made.

      http://www.newstatesman.com/future-proof/2013/12/londons-victorian-hyperloop-forgotten-pneumatic-railway-beneath-capitals-street

  6. Return To Sender

    Tangentially

    What the f**k has a still from the execrable version of War of the Worlds got to do with this story? Not sure if I've had too much or too little alcohol at this point to find the answer. Bloody El Reg random image selector. Grumble, mutter, mutter...

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. James 36

    hyperloop

    every time someone mentions the Elon hyperloop I think of the Simpsons Monorail episode

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can you spell 'Iridium'?

    Sounds like Iridium Next, which SpaceX are also part of.

    There might be a big enough market for one LEO broadband Internet service. But two? Or more?

  10. southen bastard
    Happy

    Added advantage

    All these bloody saterlites will help shade the earth , all sola powered.

    help protect us from invasion from space , amagine comming into a system that already has a traffic jam in space.

    and a big sola flare will be pritty as bellions of dollars make a sky show,

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019