According to a recent report from Bloomberg, Facebook ‘s giant drone destined to spread Internet around the world, crashed on June 28. Now, the National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the incident. Their “Aquila” drone was just beginning its test flight but crashed and was left “substantially damaged”. Also, they cannot use it again any longer. The incident reportedly happened close to Yuma, Arizona.
The Aquila drones
The Facebook Aquila drones are bigger than a Boeing 737 plane. But do they use them for? Well, they are sent at altitudes of 60,000 where they are staying for entire months. Then, the solar energy powers them and as a consequence, they are sending wireless internet around the whole Globe.
Still, even if the drone crashed and will no longer be used, they consider the test as a whole a huge success. According to a Facebook spokesperson, they are happy with the result of the flight. Their aim was to observe and check many performance models and components like aerodynamics, batteries, control systems and crew training. Overall, the team is contempt with the result, even if their initial wish was to make the drone land safely and in one piece. But they admitted that they have learned a great deal from this first flight and know where to intervene, in order for this not to happen again.
The National Transportation Safety Board will reportedly release a more detailed report over the next two months.
A struggle to boost global internet
Facebook has been trying to boost global internet availability in the last few months. Back in September, one of their satellites was completely destroyed by a Falcon 9 rocket, designed by SpaceX, Elon Musk’s company. It happened during a test for the rocket. Back in February, an Indian telecommunications watch dog banned a service belonging to Facebook. This service allowed unlimited access to a specific number of websites, for Indian people.
What is Facebook actually trying to do is to provide internet access to those people who are in areas where internet signal does not reach. They will eventually end up with some kind of fleet of satellites. This will provide internet availability everywhere on the Globe. Right now, there are reportedly around 1.6 billion people who do not have access to internet.
A longer test
According to Facebook ,the test flight lasted more than an hour over the planned schedule. However, this should not have been unknown to them because back in July, in a blog post, the company announced that they were experiencing “a structural failure” in their drones. It seems that they have not managed to fix it in time.
Supposedly, the accident occurred more than 20 feet off the ground. Also, it happened after the team flew the drone in windier conditions than recommended. This might have caused the crashing of the “Aquila” drone. The Federal Aviation Administration allows experimental flights for drones in areas where manned aircrafts are not present. In more isolated areas. But even if the drone crashed, it seems like Facebook learned what they needed from their test flight. Maybe they will now put their plan into action.
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