Facebook Internet Satellite Destroyed Spectacularly In Rocket Failure

There was an “anomaly” today during testing of a SpaceX rocket at Cape Canaveral… the kind of “anomaly” that creates a spectacular fireball, goes “BOOM,” and leaves a smoke plume in the sky. Happily, nobody was hurt during the incident. However, one very expensive piece of high-profile technology went BOOM along with.

That tech would be a broadband satellite meant to expand Facebook’s Internet.org access, as Recode reports. The payload was meant to be launched on Saturday (Sept. 3), and now will not be launching at all because much of it (and the rocket) has been reduced to its component atoms.

In a statement, SpaceX said it “can confirm that in preparation for today’s standard pre-launch static fire test, there was an anomaly on the pad resulting in the loss of the vehicle and its payload. Per standard procedure, the pad was clear and there were no injuries.”

The footage of the “anomaly” gives a pretty good sense of just how big an explosion it was. Scroll ahead to the 1:11 mark for the flames… and then wait until 1:22 for the sound to catch up:

When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg found out, he posted — where else? — to Facebook that he was “deeply disappointed” at losing the satellite “that would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across” Africa, where he currently is.

Facebook, however, does not have all its eggs in this one very expensive and disintegrated basket. “Fortunately,” Zuck continued, “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.”

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