Facebook drone accident under investigationThe social network's mission to connect more people to the internet via drones has hit a snag, right as the broadband space race is heating up.
Something went wrong with one of Facebook's massive solar powered drones, and now the US National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the accident. The US agency said the craft experienced a structural failure when it was coming in for a landing during a test flight in June. And the damage compromised the aircraft. Some are calling it a crash. The low altitude test flight lasted a little over an hour and a half. The drone called Akila, weighs less than 1,000 pounds, has the wingspans of a bowing 737, and is designed to stay in the air for 90 days at a time, to deliver high speed internet access. Facebook is testing these giant drones as a way to get more people online in hard to reach areas. where there isn't built-out infrastructure. You see, if Facebook can get more people connected to high speed internet, more people will use Facebook. This accident certainly puts a snag in those plans, although back in July Facebook called this first test flight a success. This isn't Facebook's first setback on the mission to get more people online. Facebook also was planning to test out a satellite to deliver Internet access to parts of Africa. But that plan went up in smoke, literally, because it was stored aboard the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket that exploded. Exploded during a test in September. Facebook's not the only tech giant on a quest to sell Internet services to under-served parts of the world. We're in the middle of a broadband space race. The company OneWeb, backed by Virgin Group and other prominent companies, is working on building 900 Satellites that will be used to provide internet across the globe and Elon Musk Spacex has a similar idea. Last week spacex filed an application to the Federal Communications Commission to launch more than 44 or 100 satellites into low orbit for its own internet service. It's expected to be a ten billion dollar project. I'm Bridget Carey. You can keep up with the latest tech stories at cnet.com