Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of SpaceX, on Friday denied a media report from earlier this week that said investors from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were planning to invest in a multi-billion dollar funding round in the company.

A unit of Saudi Arabia’s investment fund and an Abu Dhabi-based company are planning to invest in a multi-billion dollar funding round for SpaceX, the Information had reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the discussions.

Musk tweeted “not true” responding to the report.

The funding round is expected to value the rocket maker at about $140 billion (roughly Rs. 11,54,384 crore), the report added.

SpaceX raised $2 billion (roughly Rs. 16,491 crore) in 2022 and $2.6 billion (roughly Rs. 21,438 crore) in 2020, according to venture capital firm Space Capital.

Meanwhile, Amazon announced last week that it plans to launch its first Internet satellites to space in the first half of 2024 and offer initial commercial tests shortly after, as it prepares to vie with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and others to provide broadband Internet globally.

Amazon’s satellite Internet unit, Project Kuiper, will begin mass-producing the satellites later this year, the company said. Those will be the first of over 3,000 satellites the technology giant plans to launch in low-Earth orbit in the next few years.

“We’ll definitely be beta testing with commercial customers in 2024,” Dave Limp, senior vice president of Amazon devices, said at a conference in Washington.

With plans to pump more than $10 billion (roughly Rs. 82,400 crore) into the Kuiper network, Amazon sees its experience producing millions of devices from its consumer electronics powerhouse as an edge over rival SpaceX, the Musk-owned space company whose Starlink network already has roughly 4,000 satellites in space.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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