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AST SpaceMobile Previews BlueWalker 3 Launch 

By Rachel Jewett | May 17, 2022

Rendering of an AST SpaceMobile satellite. Photo: AST SpaceMobile

AST SpaceMobile previewed the launch of its BlueWalker 3 test satellite in first quarter 2022 financial results on May 16. 

The company said the satellite is “substantially complete” and has gone through more than 700 tests. AST SpaceMobile reaffirmed target launch this summer, which is subject to a number of factors, including testing completion. 

BlueWalker3 will test AST SpaceMobile’s satellite direct-to-cell connectivity. It features a large, nearly 700 square foot phased array that will unfurl in space. 

Chief Strategy Officer Scott Wisniewski affirmed the summer timeline in a call Monday with investors: “We’re not waiting on any parts or subsystems at this point. We have contractual commitments with SpaceX on timing within a range, but final timing is always subject to various steps and considerations, and changes can occur. The process of managing that timeline is a very detailed, very technical launch checklist and we are doing that as the highest priority at the company right now,” he said. 

CEO Abel Avellan said on the call that the satellite will open in its final configuration within a week or two of the launch, and then progress to a six-month testing campaign.  

BlueWalker 3 satellite will be followed by a commercial BlueBird satellite, Avellan said. This will take place, “even in the event of any complication to BlueWalker 3 — which we don’t anticipate.” 

In the first quarter of 2022, AST SpaceMobile reported $2.4 million in revenue, compared to $951,000 in the first quarter of last year. 

Total operating expenses in the quarter were $32.7 million, compared to $12 million for the same time last year. AST SpaceMobile spent more on engineering services, general and administrative costs, and R&D. 

The company ended the first quarter with cash, cash equivalents, and restricted cash of $255 million and $4.9 million of debt as of March 31, 2022, due to the purchase of a new facility in Texas.