When a rocket operated by space startup SpaceX burned up on the launch pad, it was a setback to the prospects of commercial space travel, as well as efforts by Facebook to control the online experiences of millions of rural internet users.
Facebook’s project, Internet.org, is described by founder Mark Zuckerberg in charitable terms, but critics have accused it of spreading “techno-colonialism.”
The Sept. 1 fire in Cape Canaveral, Florida, destroyed a $200 million satellite owned by SpaceCom, an Israeli communications satellite firm, and co-leased by Facebook. The satellite, Amos-6, was built by Israel Aerospace Industries, a government-owned aviation and aerospace manufacturer.
Facebook’s partnership with SpaceCom is another sign of the corporation’s deepening ties with Israel. In June, Facebook appointed Jordana Cutler, a close advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as head of policy and communications at Facebook’s Israeli office.