Two days before it was set to launch, a SpaceX rocket exploded at its Cape Canaveral launch pad Thursday morning. No one was injured in the blast, but the Falcon 9 rocket was carrying Facebook’s $95 million satellite—meant to help beam the internet to impoverished sub-Saharan Africa—when it burst into flames.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a statement about the loss:
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.
The cause of the explosion remains unknown, though SpaceX described the incident as an “anomaly.” CNN reports the company has launched 25 rockets from the Cape Canaveral location — Launch Complex 40, which it leases from the Air Force — since 2010.
Statement on this morning's anomaly pic.twitter.com/3Xm2bRMS7T
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 1, 2016
Explosion at SpaceX Pad 40 at 9:07am ET resulted in loss of the rocket & the payload. Pad was clear & no injuries. pic.twitter.com/4KQD1MvOmz
— talia landman (@taliaeliana) September 1, 2016