He may be in Nigeria, but Mark Zuckerberg is keenly watching events unfold at home, in particular a mishap that has adversely impacted Facebook’s global internet ambitions.
On Thursday morning, SpaceX (the aerospace transport manufacturer founded by entrepreneur Elon Musk) suffered a huge setback when one of its Falcon 9 rockets exploded on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral. The accident — described by SpaceX as “an anomaly” that occurred during the fuel loading process — also resulted in the destruction of Facebook’s Amos-6 satellite, which was part of the company’s internet-serving venture.
Zuckerberg’s subsequent response to the explosion showed little sympathy for SpaceX, and Musk, instead focusing solely on Facebook’s 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,” wrote Zuckerberg.
The Facebook founder’s tone became even more passive-aggressive when touting his own company’s tech, in particular its internet-serving drone. “Fortunately, we have developed other technologies like Aquila that will connect people as well,” exclaimed Zuckerberg. “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 has reason to be upset, however, as the Amos-6 satellite marked the first step in Facebook’s plans to bring internet capability to parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, according to SpaceNews. The satellite is estimated to have cost anywhere between $95 million and $200 million.
Will Zuckerberg’s comments result in a full-blown feud between the Facebook CEO and fellow billionaire Musk? It doesn’t seem likely at this stage. Musk has thus far only tweeted a paraphrased version of SpaceX’s original statement describing the origins of the explosion.