A SpaceX rocket explosion in Florida destroyed an on-board satellite Facebook intended to use to help bring internet access to Africa.
“As I'm here in Africa, I'm deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX's launch failure destroyed our satellite that would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent,” Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of the social media giant, said on Facebook. “Fortunately, we have developed other technologies like Aquila that will connect people as well. We remain committed to our mission of connecting everyone, and we will keep working until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided.”
This happens with billionaire boys and their toys. Hawthorne-based SpaceX is run by Elon Musk of Tesla and PayPal fame. Musk tweeted that the “loss” of the company's Falcon 9 rocket happened during fueling. The blast “originated around upper stage oxygen tank,” though the exact cause was unknown, he said.
He had no apologies for Zuck just yet.
SpaceX said on Twitter that the explosion happened “in preparation for today's pre-launch static fire test.” An “anomaly” on the launch pad somehow sparked the blast, resulting in a complete loss of the rocket and its payload, which included that satellite, the South Bay firm stated.
Since SpaceX, which has a 93 percent success rate with its for-hire launches, helps supply the International Space Station, NASA addressed the matter. The agency stated that it's “too early to know” if the loss would affect the supply chain down the line. Supplies “are at good levels,” it stated.
The blast took place about 9:07 a.m. EST at Cape Canaveral, SpaceX stated. “We are continuing to review the data to identify the root cause,” the firm stated.
The $200 million Israel Aerospace Industries satellite was known as AMOS-6. It was to be used, in conjuction with French satellite company Eutelsat, as part of Facebook's internet.org program in sub-Saharan Africa. The rocket was scheduled to be launched Saturday.
Another Falcon 9 was destroyed during a June 2015 launch.