Key Google Satellite Executive Departs

Google_logo_newGoogle’s effort to develop a global satellite broadband network has suffered a setback with the departure of a key executive along with the loss of rights to radio spectrum.

Multiple media outlets are reporting that Greg Wyler has departed after only a few months at the Internet giant. The reports indicate that he is now working closely with SpaceX and Elon Musk, although not as an employee.

Wyler joined Google earlier this year to work on the company’s satellite effort, which involves launching hundreds of satellite to provide broadband coverage to developing nations and remote regions.

Wyler had previously founded O3b Networks, which is working on bringing satellite Internet to the developing world. Brian Holz, who previously served as O3b’s CTO, also moved over to Google.

The Verge is reporting that along with Wyler’s departure, Google has lost rights to a certain part of the radio spectrum controlled by his company, WorldVu Satellites Ltd. Google has previously invested in WorldVu.

It’s not clear why Wyler departed Google. However, a connection with SpaceX makes sense because of the need to launch hundreds of satellites into space. The contracts would be quite profitable for SpaceX and another other provider(s) selected to provide launch services for the constellation.

Parabolic Arc reported earlier this year that Google was in negotiations with Virgin Galactic regarding launch services. The deal reportedly would involve Google making an equity investment in Virgin Galactic and taking over development of Virgin’s LauncherOne rocket program.

Neither Google nor Virgin Galactic has publicly confirmed the negotiations, whose current status is unknown.