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AST SpaceMobile Nears Q1 Launch Date, Works to Close Strategic Investment 

By Rachel Jewett | November 17, 2023

Rendering of an AST SpaceMobile satellite. Photo: AST SpaceMobile

AST SpaceMobile is working to close strategic investment to fund the buildout of its satellite-to-cell fleet as the company approaches launch of its first commercial satellites. 

The company released its third quarter update on Nov. 14. Its first five commercial satellites to provide satellite direct-to-cell service are expected to launch in the first quarter of 2024. The company reports 85% of the planned capital expenditures for these satellites has been paid as of Sept. 30. 

These five BlueBird Block 1 satellites will cost a total of $115 million — a $5 million increase from the last estimate because a potential customer requested a change in the inclination of the orbit in order to provide better coverage for its subscriber base. CFO Sean Wallace told investors on Nov. 14 that this change to the orbital location required an additional payment to launcher SpaceX. 

AST SpaceMobile is pre-revenue, and ended the quarter with $135 million in cash on hand. Wallace said the company believes this cash and the company’s ability to raise capital through its existing facilities can support expenditures for at least the next 12 months. 

Wallace said operating expenses in 2024 should decline from $37 million to $40 million per quarter to about $25 million to $30 million as it makes the final investments in BlueBird Block 1 and spends less on nonrecurring third party engineering expenses. 

AST SpaceMobile is conducting diligence with “multiple strategic partners” for investment that would fund the manufacturing, launch and operations of additional BlueBird satellites beyond its first five commercial satellites. The investment is intended to “establish new and incremental financial, commercial and strategic relationships within the wireless ecosystem.” 

The company expects to close in November or December.