Facebook permanently grounds its Aquila solar-powered internet plane

continue its work with partners, such as Airplane, to help advance \”high altitude platform stations\” (HAPS) like the Aquila.The program

has been underway because 2014 ( the acquisition of Ascenta seems to have been its real start) and very first test flight in 2016– leading to a \”structural failure,\” hard landing, and subsequent NTSB investigation. The second test flight was \”As we\’ve worked on these efforts, it\’s been interesting to see leading business in the aerospace market start buying this technology too– consisting of the style and building of brand-new high-altitude aircraft,\” composed Maguire.Considering the substantial scale of financial investment required to build a craft like this from scratch, and the large space in expertise and core competencies in between a social network and a veteran aerospace company, it\’s not surprising that Facebook decided to cut its losses.The choice was preceded by a report from Service Insider that the project had basically stalled: its head and primary engineer left last month after, from checking out between the lines, efforts to double down on the job with a redesign and personal hangar were rejected.The Aquila strategy, like other ambitious connection concepts, some still in the offing, was developed in a period one may call\” peak Facebook,\”when it was at the height of its development, before it brought in almost the level of criticism it faces today, when its objectives were lofty in a number of ways.No doubt the business prepares to pursue\” the next billion\”in such a way that isn\’t rather so expensive or unmatched. Maguire does show that work will continue, just not in such a direct way: Moving forward, we\’ll continue to work with partners like Plane on HAPS connectivity normally, and on the other

technologies needed to make this system work, like flight control computers and high-density batteries. On the policy front, we\’ll be working on a proposition for 2019 World Radio Conference to obtain more spectrum for HAPS, and we\’ll be actively taking part in a variety of aviation advisory boards and rule-making committees in the US and internationally.It\’s hard to fault Facebook for its aspiration, though even at the time there were plenty who challenged this extremely techno-utopian idea of

how web could be delivered to isolated communities. Undoubtedly, they said, and will continue to say, that cash would be much better invested laying fiber or developing fundamental facilities. We\’ll see.I asked Facebook for more details, such as exactly what tasks particularly it will be backing, and exactly what will occur to the IP and hardware the Aquila program comprised.Although a Facebook representative declined to address my specific questions, they emphasized the fact that the Aquila project was both effective and wide-ranging; although a real airplane will no longer belong to it(that responsibility is up to real aerospace companies), there were lots of other advances in transmission, propulsion, and so on that are still quite in active development. Exactly what the company plans to do with those is still unclear, however we can most likely anticipate news on that front over the next few months as the program adjusts focus.