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AST SpaceMobile Posts First Set of Financial Results Ahead of Prototype Launch

By Rachel Jewett | August 17, 2021

      AST SpaceMobile headquarters in Midland, Texas. Photo: AST SpaceMobile

      AST SpaceMobile, which is working to build a space-to-cell network, posted its first set of financial results after going public in April

      For the second quarter of 2021, AST SpaceMobile reported $25.1 million in total operating expenses. This is up from $12.1 million in the first quarter of 2021, as the company increased research and development costs of $8.7 million. 

      The company reported $2.8 million in revenue for the quarter, and $3.7 million in revenue so far for the fiscal year. AST SpaceMobile ended the second quarter with $402.6 million in cash and cash equivalent and no financial debt.

      AST SpaceMobile is preparing for the launch of its second prototype spacecraft BlueWalker 3, in March 2022 on a SpaceX mission. This satellite will be used for space-to-cell network testing in partnership with mobile network operators. The company also announced Monday that it is finalizing an MoU with South African mobile network operator MTN Group for testing alongside BlueWalker 3 in two initial countries. 

      Scott Wisniewski, executive vice president and chief strategy officer, gave further information on the company’s progress during a Monday call with investors. He said AST SpaceMobile increased engagement with third party technology providers and long lead time engineering work items to meet constellation timing goals, increasing R&D costs. The company expects third part R&D expenses to continue to increase through 2022 as the company completes the electronic design of its production satellites. 

      AST SpaceMobile has invested $51.7 million in the BlueWalker 3 satellite, and expects to invest an additional $14 million to $16 million in order to bring the project to completion. Yet in its plan for a constellation of 168 satellites, the company plans for an average cost per satellite to be in the $10 million to $11.5 million range. 

      Blue Walker 3 features one of the largest phased arrays ever set to be deployed in space, measuring 693 square feet. The company said this size is necessary to generate the power and signal strength required to communicate with small mobile phones hundreds of miles away.