Internet search provider Google has entered into an agreement to buy satellite maker Skybox for USD 500 million in cash.

The deal is expected to make the search engine giant to serve as a launching pad to send its own satellite to take aerial pictures and provide online access to remote areas of the world.

Skybox’s satellites will help keep Google Maps accurate with up-to-date imagery, the Silicon Valley-based company said in a statement yesterday.

“Over time, we also hope that Skybox’s team and technology will be able to help improve Internet access and disaster relief — areas Google has long been interested in,” it said.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals in the US, Google said.

Making the announcement, Skybox said the deal is not complete yet.

“Five years ago, we began the Skybox journey to revolutionise access to information about the changes happening across the surface of the Earth.

“We’ve made great strides in the pursuit of that vision,” it said. We’ve built and launched the world’s smallest high—resolution imaging satellite, which collects beautiful and useful images and video every day.

“We have built an incredible team and empowered them to push the state-of-the-art in imaging to new heights.

“The time is right to join a company who can challenge us to think even bigger and bolder, and who can support us in accelerating our ambitious vision,” it said.

Skybox and Google, the statement said, believe in making information (especially accurate geospatial information) accessible and useful.

“And to do this, we’re both willing to tackle problems head on — whether it’s building cars that drive themselves or designing our own satellites from scratch,” it said.