AST SpaceMobile announces launch deal with SpaceX
by Staff Writers
Midland TX (SPX) Mar 11, 2022
AST SpaceMobile, Inc. (NASDAQ: ASTS), the company building the first and only space-based cellular broadband network accessible directly by standard mobile phones, has announced it has signed a multi-launch agreement with Space Exploration Technologies Corp. ("SpaceX"). In addition to the planned summer launch of the BlueWalker 3 test satellite (BW3), the agreement covers the launch of the first BlueBird satellite and provides a framework for future launches.
"This agreement secures the availability for a reliable launch of our first production satellites out of the U.S.," 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 expects to 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.
SpaceX plans another Starlink launch as Ukraine uses the service during conflict
Washington DC (UPI) Mar 8, 2021
SpaceX plans to launch more Starlink communications satellites from Florida on Wednesday as the Ukrainian government uses the service during its defense against the Russian invasion. The use of satellite communications by defenders in a conflict, where ground communications may be destroyed at any moment, can make a big difference in the outcome, John Scott Railton of the University of Toronto, told UPI in an interview. "Having Starlink capability is clearly helpful to Ukraine," said Rai ... read more
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