SpaceX Rocket Explodes, Takes Facebook Satellite Down With It

When the SpaceX rocket exploded Thursday morning during a practice test on Cape Canaveral, it badly damaged the reputation of SpaceX and Elon Musk.

But it took Facebook down a peg as well.

The Menlo Park-based social networking giant spent close to $200 million on a satellite, with the goal of providing internet access to developing countries.

In fact, while in Nairobi, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg described the satellite project, saying it will be used “to make sure that networks spread and reach everywhere.”

Good for Facebook, and good for people everywhere who want to be connected. But that will have to wait — the satellite was destroyed in the blast.

“You try to move forward,” says Sinclair Vass of Milpitas-based Viavi.

Vass knows. He’s been part of tech-related space programs before, and Viavi’s technology is about to help with the NASA launch of a rocket aiming for an asteroid next week.

“It’s always frustrating,” Vass said about failures. "But it’s part of exploring the frontier.”

And these launches will continue, with Silicon Valley technology on board.

Scott can be found stargazing on Twitter: @scottbudman

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