AST SpaceMobile, SpaceX multi-launch agreement
March 10, 2022
AST SpaceMobile, the company building a space-based cellular broadband network accessible directly by standard mobile phones, has signed a multi-launch agreement with SpaceX. In addition to the planned summer launch of the BlueWalker 3 test satellite (BW3), the agreement covers the launch of the BlueBird satellites and provides a framework for future launches.
“This agreement secures the availability for a reliable launch of our first production satellites out of the US,” said AST SpaceMobile Founder, Chairman and CEO Abel Avellan. “Our summer launch of BlueWalker 3 will complete the development phase for our company. We have also been industrializing our technology and preparing for the launch of the BlueBird satellites, with this agreement as a key step.”
The BW3 satellite is slated to launch from Cape Canaveral on a Falcon 9 vehicle. The satellite has an aperture of 693 square feet and is designed to communicate directly with cell phones via 3GPP standard frequencies.
The BlueBird satellites are designed to be compatible with the Falcon 9 vehicle, as well as other existing and planned industry launch vehicles. These production satellites are designed to provide broadband commercial service directly to cell phones, without any additional hardware or software on the phone. At full capacity, AST SpaceMobile will be able to assemble up to six BlueBird satellites per month at its Texas manufacturing facilities, which offer a combined 185,000 of square footage.
AST SpaceMobile’s mission is to eliminate the connectivity gaps faced by today’s five billion mobile subscribers moving in and out of coverage zones, and bring cellular broadband to approximately half of the world’s population who remain unconnected. Partners in this effort are leading global wireless infrastructure companies, including Rakuten Mobile, Vodafone and American Tower.