Earlier today, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded on the launch pad for no apparent reason. While we’re still trying to learn more about what happened, we already know that the company was doing a test, and an anomaly created a big mess. Fortunately, all personnel were clear of the launch pad. But this incident is going to affect Facebook’s Internet.org effort in a significant way as a satellite was also destroyed in the process.
While insurance companies are going to pay out for today’s failure, the SpaceX rocket was supposed to launch an Eutelsat communication satellite called Amos-6. Among other things, this satellite was supposed to beam internet in large portions of Africa for Facebook
This kind of project takes years to put together — you can’t build a satellite overnight. And yet, the satellite was destroyed in a few minutes during the incident. It’s going to make the Internet.org rollout slower.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared a message on his Facebook account.
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.
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.
As he also notes, Facebook has other ideas when it comes to delivering internet in developing countries, such as giant drones (the Aquila project) or lasers. Now that basically everyone who has access to the internet also has a Facebook account, Facebook’s next frontier is connecting more people to the internet.
More reporting from TechCrunch