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The rocket was set to launch on Saturday, September 3, 2016. Its mission was to deliver an AMOS-6 communication satellite belonging to Facebook. The satellite was part of Facebook’s Internet.org initiative and would be used to deliver internet to the developing world.
The AMOS-6 satellite, which reportedly was set to be used to provide internet connectivity to rural parts of sub-Saharan Africa, was on board the Falcon 9 rocket at the time of the test and was destroyed in the explosion.
“SpaceX can confirm that in preparation for today’s standard pre-launch static fire test, there was an anomaly on the pad resulting in the loss of the vehicle and its payload, a SpaceX spokesperson told the Daily Dot. “Per standard procedure, the pad was clear and there were no injuries.”
Reports on social media indicate the blast was noticeable, even from a distance. A Twitter user reported feeling his work building shake in the wake of the explosion. Kerrin Jeromin, the meteorologist for CBS affiliate station WPEC, reported the smoke plume from the explosion could be seen on radar.
A Facebook spokesperson told the Daily Dot, “We are disappointed by the loss but remain committed to our mission of connecting people to the Internet around the world.”
AJ Dellinger is a seasoned technology writer whose work has appeared in Digital Trends, International Business Times, and Newsweek. In 2018, he joined Gizmodo as the nights and weekend editor.