Facebook Satellite Meant to Bring Internet to Africa Destroyed In Rocket Blast
An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket which had in tow a satellite meant to bring high-speed internet to Africa exploded on the launch pad during a test in Florida on Thursday.
“Loss of Falcon vehicle today during propellant fill operation,” Elon Musk billionaire and owner of the Space X project tweeted. “Originated around upper stage oxygen tank. Cause still unknown. More soon.”
According to The Vanguard, the footage of the blast showed the rocket bursting into a roaring ball of flame in the midst of what appeared to be a succession of blasts — sending its payload tumbling to the ground as a dense plume of black smoke filled the air.
“At approximately 9:07 am ET (1307 GMT), during a standard pre-launch static fire test for the Amos-6 mission, there was an anomaly at SpaceX’s Cape Canaveral Space Launch Complex 40 resulting in loss of the vehicle,” Elon Musk’s firm said. “Per standard operating procedure, the pad was clear and there were no injuries.”
Mark Zuckerberg who is currently in Kenya was understandably unhappy with the development and said, “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.”