Virgin Galactic founder Sir Richard Branson, right, celebrates the naming of mothership aircraft White Knight Two "Eve" after his mother Eve Branson, left, at Scaled Composites hangar in Mojave, Calif., Monday, July 28, 2008.
Richard Branson may prove to be a key part of Google's satellite plans, according to a new report.
Sky News reports that Google is in advanced talks to take a small stake in Branson's space flight company Virgin Galactic and to pursue a joint venture together. Google is reportedly looking to spend about $30 million for a 1.5% stake in the company and "hundreds of millions" on a venture which Sky News says would tie into Google's plans to launch a fleet of satellites into low orbit.
Google declined to comment on the report. Virgin Galactic did not immediately respond to our request for comment.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that Google was interested in spend $1 billion or more to launch at least 180 satellites and expand Internet access to more remote parts of the world. The company already reportedly has a dedicated satellite team that consists of 10 to 20 people and just this week acquired Skybox, a satellite imaging service.
"I think it's more about what it teaches Google for their Internet satellite ambitions, which is obviously a much bigger and more ambitious project," Tim Farrar, an analyst with TMF Associate, told Mashable in an earlier interview about the Skybox acquisition.
Virgin Galactic is set to begin offering commercial flights into low orbit for $250,000 a ticket later this year.