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02 September 2016

'Disappointed' Mark Zuckerberg Hits Out at SpaceX after Facebook's $200 Million Satellite Explodes

Detonation:  A massive explosion erupted at a SpaceX launch
pad Thursday during a routine rocket test for a planned
launch of a communications satellite.
Billionaires at war: 'Disappointed' Mark Zuckerberg hits out at SpaceX after Facebook's $200m satellite explodes but Elon Musk says the cause is 'unknown' as his fortune drops $390m in one day
by Mark Prigg for Dailymail.com
1st September 2016

  • SpaceX rocket due to launch on Saturday with Facebook's first satellite
  • Exploded during a static fire test early at Cape Canaveral before launch, destroying the cargo
  • Facebook's Amos-6 satellite would have widened Internet access. and has cost $200m to develop
  • Was due to beam connectivity across Africa including 14 countries 
  • Facebook CEO is currently in Africa at a conference and would have been there to mark Saturday's launch
  • SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that the cause of the accident was still 'unkown' 
  • The CEO lost $390m of his personal fortune on Thursday as his shares in his other venutres Tesla and SolarCity took a hit

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg expressed his 'deep disappointment' at the destruction of his revolutionary $200million satellite on Thursday when the SpaceX Falcon 9 owned by Elon Musk's company suffered a catastrophic explosion on the Cape Canaveral launch pad during a routine pre-launch check.

Zuckerberg is currently visiting several countries in Africa and likely would have marked the occasion of Facebook's Amos 6 satellite being launched into orbit on Saturday, had it not been destroyed around 9am in the massive blast. The satellite was to provide at least 14 countries on the continent and Middle East with free broadband.

'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,' Zuckerberg wrote.

'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.'

Zuckerberg's statement about the loss of the satellite appears to be a jab at fellow billionaire Musk, who lost about $390million as the stock prices of two of his companies, Telsa and SolarCity, dropped after the accident at Cape Canaveral.

After the accident, shares in Elon Musk's electric car maker Tesla dropped 5.3 percent and his SolarCity venture was also down 9.1 percent.

The tech CEO's publicly clashed when Musk took to Twitter seemingly in response to Zuckerberg's Facebook statement to deny that his unmanned rocket was to blame, as he made it clear that the cause of the accident was unknown.

The blast occurred shortly after 9am in Cape Canaveral, as smoke could be seen billowing into the sky where the $200million Amos-6 satellite was set to launch on Saturday morning with a SpaceX reusable rocket.

The test was in advance of a planned Saturday launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, which is next to NASA's Kennedy Space Center.

'SpaceX can confirm that in preparation for today's static fire, 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,' a SpaceX spokesman said to DailyMail.com in an email.

The rocket was supposed to launch the Amos-6 communication satellite, which included the capabilities for Facebook to spot-beam broadband for Facebook's Internet.org initiative.

France-based satellite provider Eutelast and Facebook spent an estimated $95million on the satellite's Ka-band communication array for a five year lease.

Facebook first announced its plans to launch a satellite to provide internet access to remote parts of Africa in October 2015, with Zuckerberg saying 'I'm excited to announce our first project to deliver internet from space.

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