Friday, 2 September 2016

SpaceX explosion blew up $200m Facebook satellite

The SpaceX rocket that exploded on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral also blew up a pricey Facebook satellite it was supposed to deliver into orbit, leaving social network company boss Mark Zuckerberg "deeply disappointed."

The four-minute-long explosion occurred as the 604-ton Falcon 9 rocket was being fuelled with a powerful mixture of liquid oxygen and rocket-grade kerosene propellant for test firing before its weekend launch.

The cause of the blast is still unknown and is being investigated, according to a tweet by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. He described it as a "fast fire, not an explosion."

No one was injured in the blast, which SpaceX referred to as an "anomaly."

"I'm deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX's launch failure destroyed our satellite," Zuckerberg wrote in a post while traveling in Africa. He noted that the satellite "would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent".

Zuckerberg said other technologies are in the works to boost Internet access, adding: "We will keep working until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided." Facebook already completed its first successful experimental flight in June of Aquila, an unmanned, solar-powered plane that will also be used to beam the Internet into remote areas.

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