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AST SpaceMobile Pushes Back BlueWalker 3 Satellite Launch 

By Rachel Jewett | December 6, 2021

      Clean room in Midland, Texas, where final testing on BlueWalker 3 satellite is being conducted. Photo: AST SpaceMobile

      AST SpaceMobile has decided to push back the launch of its demonstration satellite BlueWalker 3, the company announced Monday. AST SpaceMobile had raised this possibility during its recent third quarter financial update.  

      The company’s stock was down 12% on Monday with the news. 

      AST SpaceMobile was set to launch with SpaceX between March 1, 2022 and April 30, 2022, and has now submitted a rebooking notice for a revised launch window targeting summer 2022. The final launch timing is dependent on SpaceX.

      The company cited needing additional time for assembly, testing, and final launch preparation as the reason for the delay. 

      “Our technology development is on track and we have made significant progress on our BlueWalker 3 satellite,” AST SpaceMobile Founder, Chairman, and CEO Abel Avellan said in Monday’s release. “We believe the updated launch window provides important and needed additional prep time to ensure a successful satellite launch.”

      In a call with investors last month, Avellan said BlueWalker 3 is in the final integration and testing phase. “We want to make sure that we have fully completed our test program for BlueWalker 3 before we go to the launch site,” he said. 

      AST SpaceMobile is working to develop a cellular broadband network in space. BlueWalker 3 is designed to communicate directly with unmodified mobile phones on Earth and validate the company’s space-to-cell network for testing with mobile network operators.