AST SpaceMobile’s Bluewalker 3 on Target to Deliver the First and Only Space-Based Cellular Broadband
AST SpaceMobile provides interim operational update of its ongoing space-based cellular broadband satellite programs
MIDLAND, Texas, December 14, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AST SpaceMobile, Inc. (“AST SpaceMobile”) (NASDAQ: ASTS), the company building the first and only space-based cellular broadband network directly accessible by standard cell phones, provides an industry update on the BlueWalker 3 (BW3), Block 1 BlueBird and next-generation BlueBird -programs.
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AST SpaceMobile, Inc., today provided an operational update on the BlueWalker 3 (BW3), Block 1 BlueBird and next-generation BlueBird programs. (Photo: Business Wire)
“The achievements to date for BlueWalker 3 validate the design roadmap for our BlueBirds, including the deployment and flight of the largest commercial communications array ever in low Earth orbit, a key fundamental and patented technology to directly support space-based cellular broadband delivering unmodified phones,” says Abel Avellan, chairman and CEO of AST SpaceMobile. “On the back of the successful deployment of BW3’s communications array, we look forward to working with our mobile network operator partners to begin early in the first quarter of 2023.”
Update on BlueWalker 3 activities in orbit, the largest commercial communications array ever deployed in low Earth orbit
Performance with nominal operations on BW3 satellite over the last 3 months
Built TT&C (Tracking, Telemetry & Control) network on Earth, with crews monitoring 24/7 BW3 orbit via ground stations in Maryland, Colorado and Australia
Nominal operations for guidance, navigation and control of BW3 over the past 3 months achieved at an altitude of ~515km and sustained velocity of ~17,000 mph
Upgraded onboard flight control software to incorporate BW3 on-orbit learning and control the deployed communications array
Deploy the 693 square foot communications array, from stored configuration, in November 2022
Powered the communication array in preparation for testing mobile network operators
Tested patented doppler and delay hardware and software solution on the ground with Rakuten Mobile and Nokia baseband technology
Completed ground network installation for end-to-end testing in Texas, Hawaii and Japan
Received test licenses via partner mobile network operators from relevant regulatory bodies in the United States, Japan, Colombia, Kenya, Nigeria, Philippines and Indonesia prior to mobile network operator testing
Updated Ground Space Operations Center (SOC) system and processes to support planned low-Earth orbit operations
Transition to testing direct-to-cell satellite capabilities starting in Q1 2023, supporting mobile network operator partners to connect with BlueWalker 3 and prepare for future commercial service with BlueBird satellites
Integrates with mobile network operator core networks, including AST SpaceMobile’s patented doppler and delay system, starting as early as January
Perform initial 4G LTE and 5G end-to-end connectivity from communications array as early as January
Report speed test data in collaboration with mobile network operator partners
Update on BlueBird programs, targeting the launch of the first 5 commercial satellites by the end of 2023
Confirmation of BW3 mechanical deployment system and system architecture expected to be used for first 5 Block 1 BlueBird satellites
Confirmation of major BW3 subsystems expected to be used for first 5 Block 1 BlueBird satellites, including guidance, navigation and control system used on BW3
Assembly and production lines designed, and equipment ordered and partially installed, with significant flexibility to meet expected 2023 production needs in our 185,000 square foot Texas manufacturing facilities
Expect to begin initial chip production during 2023 of custom AST 5000 ASIC for future generation, higher capacity BlueBird satellites
Planned testing of the BW3 test satellite with mobile network operators may be delayed, may not be successful, or may not be completed at all due to various factors, including, but not limited to, equipment failure, or other technical problems.
About AST SpaceMobile
AST SpaceMobile is building the first and only global cellular broadband network in space to work directly with standard, unmodified mobile devices based on our extensive IP and patent portfolio. Our engineers and space scientists are on a mission to eliminate the connectivity gaps facing today’s five billion mobile subscribers and ultimately bring broadband to the unconnected billions. For more information, follow AST SpaceMobile on YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Watch this video for an overview of the SpaceMobile mission.
This communication contains “forward-looking statements” that are not historical facts, and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results of AST SpaceMobile to differ materially from those expected and projected. These forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology, including the words “believe,” “estimate,” “anticipate,” “anticipate,” “intend,” “plan,” “may,” “will,” “would “, “potential,” “projects,” “forecast,” “continue,” or “should,” or, in each case, their negative or other variations or comparable terminology.
These forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from anticipated results. Most of these factors are beyond AST SpaceMobile’s control and are difficult to predict. Factors that could cause such differences include, but are not limited to: (i) expectations regarding AST SpaceMobile’s strategies and future financial performance, including AST’s future business plans or goals, expected functionality of the SpaceMobile service, expected timing and level; of deployment of satellites, expected demand and adoption of mobile satellite services, prospective performance and commercial opportunities and competitors, the timing of obtaining regulatory approvals, ability to finance its research and development activities, commercial partnership acquisition and retention, products and services, pricing, marketing plans, operating expenses, market trends, revenue, liquidity, cash flow and uses of cash, capital expenditures, and AST’s ability to invest in growth initiatives; (ii) the negotiation of definitive agreements with mobile network operators with respect to the SpaceMobile service that will supersede preliminary agreements and memoranda of understanding; (iii) the ability of AST SpaceMobile to grow and manage growth profitably and retain its key employees and AST SpaceMobile’s responses to actions of its competitors and its ability to compete effectively; (iv) changes in applicable laws or regulations; (v) the possibility that AST SpaceMobile may be adversely affected by other economic, business and/or competitive factors; (vi) the outcome of any legal proceedings that may be brought against AST SpaceMobile; and (vii) other risks and uncertainties indicated in the Company’s filings with the SEC, including those in the Risk Factors section of AST SpaceMobile’s Form 10-K filed with the SEC on March 31, 2022.
The planned testing of the BW3 test satellite may not be completed due to a variety of factors, which may include loss of satellite connectivity, destruction of the satellite or other communication failures, and even if completed as planned, the BW3 test may indicate adjustments. necessary or modifications to be made, which may result in any additional costs, which may be material, and delays in the commercialization of our service. The manufacture and launch of our BlueBird satellites may not be completed as currently contemplated due to a variety of factors, which may include results of BW3 testing, challenges in completing our assembly and production facility, launch difficulties or supply chain shortages, may result in additional costs or delays, which may be material. If there are delays or problems with our testing of BW3 or production and launch of BlueBird satellites, it may become more expensive to raise capital, if we are able to do so at all.
AST SpaceMobile cautions that the foregoing list of factors is not exclusive. AST SpaceMobile cautions readers not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, which are made only as of the date. For information identifying important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements, please refer to the Risk Factors incorporated by reference in AST SpaceMobile’s Form 10-K filed with the SEC on March 31, 2022 has been submitted. AST SpaceMobile’s securities filings can be accessed on the EDGAR section of the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Except as expressly required by applicable securities law, AST SpaceMobile disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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