U.S. agency National Transportation Safety Board is investigating a serious accident that Facebook´s Internet-spreading drone Aquila suffered in its first test flight back in June, in which the unmanned aircraft stayed aloft for 96 minutes, three times the planned duration, as reported by the social platform, which later recognized the incident.
The Internet-Spreading Drone Had The Accident When It Was About To Land
According to Bloomberg, the situation happened at 7:43 (east time) near Yuma, and although the damage was "substantial", there was no harmed in the accident. The NTSB didn't reveal any more detail about the incident, but the social media explained through a web post on July 21 that Aquila suffered a structural failure, which could occur while the drone was coming in for a landing.
This is not the first time that a similar incident happens to the social media giant, since at September 1, a Space X rocket explosion destroyed a satellite that could have helped spread the internet over Africa, which has been one of the main objectives of Facebook for a while. Regarding the situation, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he was disappointed, considering the efforts that his company did in order to make this happen.
The Drone´s Mission Was Extremely Important To Facebook´s Interests
According to The Guardian, the internet-spreading drone was intended to improve Facebook´s Internet.org project, in order to bring a billion people online , by going at a higher altitude than any commercial airplane and beaming information shown to the earth using lasers. The intention was to occupy a comparable niche to satellites in offering access to many remotes areas, without the expensive launch costs that usually comes with space-based communications technology.
The internet-spreading drone was physically little more than a lightweight wing, which was equipped with solar panels on the top, in order to fly for extended periods of time without the necessity of landing. It was designed to be on the air for months at a time, using solar energy to refill batteries, at altitudes above 18,288 meters.