There were strange reports back in June about Google entering the space race, with a particular emphasis on Google repeating the old business model of the doomed low Earth orbit constellation venture Skybridge.
What is unclear is how and why those rumours became news, because they seemed to be based on unnamed sources suggesting that one time 03B promoter Greg Wyler might be working for Google. Google made no statement and gave no hint. It became clearer today that there was little more to this story than the puff of self promotion, when again, unnamed industry sources revealed that Google has nothing to do with Wyler, that he does not work there, and is still shopping his Skybridge business plan around, now called WorldVu. One industry source I spoke to said “if sending lots of low earth orbiting satellites up at huge cost, with short lifetimes and as yet not-invented ground system technologies was a good idea, some of the bigger companies in the industry would be doing it. But it failed more than a decade ago for good reasons. The simple facts are that LEO businesses always go bust, and Google are smart enough to realise that and keep away from embarrassment. Especially since the $10 million that the Google Charitable Foundation was rumoured to have given 03b has not exactly been a glorious success”.
What is more clear about Google’s intentions is that they will enter the space market for Earth Imaging, not broadband data. The recent purchase of Skybox means that soon Google Earth will be populated with rapidly refreshing images in high definition of the bits of the ground you most want to look at. That is core business to Google, it’s logical and the technology IS deliverable. Smart move.
We wait with eager anticipation for the next Wyler rumour!