Zuckerberg’s dream for Africa: Space X Falcon 9 burns

Zuckerberg’s dream for Africa: Space X Falcon 9 burns

Space X Falcon 9 explodes

In 2015, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to bring internet to Sub-Saharan Africa from space. The dream was set back when Space X Falcon 9 went up in flames. The project is part of Facebook’s internet.org initiative and a partnership with Eutelsat. A satellite called AMOS-6 would provide internet coverage to the greater part of Sub-Saharan Africa. AMOS-6 was set for launch on September 3 before an explosion stopped that on Thursday. Space X Falcon 9 was scheduled to take AMOS-6 into orbit on Saturday. According to Space X, an anomaly had occurred while the rocket was being loaded with fuel. The rocket’s payload, AMOS-6 was also destroyed. Fortunately, none of the personnel on site were injured.

space x falcon 9
Falcon 9 goes up in flames

Mark Zuckerberg disappointed

The Facebook CEO who is currently on a visit to Africa expressed grave disappointment in a statement on his Facebook and Twitter.

“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, Facebook’s internet.org project is bigger than AMOS-6. In June this year, Facebook completed the first flight of a solar powered plane that will beam internet to remote parts of the earth. The plane is also set to break the record for the longest flight by an unmanned aircraft. The greater goal of the project is to send a fleet of aquilas flying across the world beaming internet for up to 9 months at a go.

A bit more about Aquila

Aquila is one of the finest innovations one will ever come across. The body is made of carbon fiber composite hence the craft weighs in at less than 450kg. The craft has wings wider than a Boeing 737 which allow it to collect solar energy. At cruising altitude, Aquila uses as much energy as three hairdryers! Very impressive right?
space x falcon 9
Aquila architecture
The craft is semi autonomous and requires a control crew on the ground. The plane will have to withstand some of the roughest whether conditions and extreme altitudes hence the build quality has to be insane. Aquila will also carry a communications payload that will transfer data at 10 times the speed of existing systems.

The end goal

Facebook’s ultimate goal is connectivity. There is more than 4 billion people with no access to the internet and they want to close that gap.

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