AST SpaceMobile's first cellular broadband network satellite will launch atop SpaceX's Falcon 9

von Evelyn Janeidy Arevalo September 03, 2022

AST SpaceMobile's first cellular broadband network satellite will launch atop SpaceX's Falcon 9

AST SpaceMobile is a company headquartered in Midland, Texas, that is building a global cellular broadband network in outer space. The company will launch its first test satellite, called BlueWalker 3 (BW3), that will be capable of sending data directly to unmodified smartphones from Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The giant BlueWalker 3 satellite will be launched by SpaceX atop a Falcon 9 rocket on September 10 at 7:51 p.m. ET [date and time is subject to change]. “Made in TX — size matters! BlueWalker 3's 693 sq ft array would be largest-ever commercial comms array in LEO,” said AST SpaceMobile’s Chairman and CEO Abel Avellan, “We're building the first & only cellular broadband network in space backed by 2,400 patent and patent-pending claims. Removing before-flight tags today!!!” Avellan shared a photo of the gigantic satellite, linked below. The large array antenna is designed to connect mobile phones from a much longer distance than traditional cell towers. The company conducted over 800 tests on the satellite to assess its performance and has permission from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to beam data from BlueWalker 3 to Texas and Hawaii. 

 
“There are over five billion mobile phones in use today globally, but many of us still experience gaps in coverage as we live, work and travel. Additionally, there are billions of people around the world who still lack access to broadband,” said Scott Wisniewski, Chief Strategy Officer at AST SpaceMobile. “We want our efforts to significantly increase the availability of cellular broadband globally by providing a space-based network to existing, unmodified mobile phones. The delivery of BlueWalker 3 to Cape Canaveral represents another milestone in our efforts to reach this goal.” The BlueWalker 3 satellite was delivered to SpaceX’s Cape Canaveral facility to be prepped for liftoff earlier in August. The satellite will share a ride with a batch of SpaceX’s Starlink satellites that will launch to orbit from Florida next week.
 
AST SpaceMobile says it will become the first space-based cellular network, capable of providing internet services direct-to-cell connectivity to customer devices with a constellation of at least 200 yet-to-be-launched satellites. However, SpaceX and T-Mobile just became their competitor; they recently announced a plan to beam voice and text messaging services from hardware that will be installed to future Starlink V2 satellites that will operate in LEO. Regarding the SpaceX founder Elon Musk and T-Mobile Mike Sievert’s partnership announcement, AST SpaceMobile’s CEO Abel Avellan said: “Elon and Mike helped the world focus attention on the huge market opportunity for SpaceMobile, the only planned space-based cellular broadband network. BlueWalker 3, which has a 693 sq ft array, is scheduled for launch within weeks!” he wrote via Twitter. AST SpaceMobile shared a video explaining how it's space-based cellular network will work, linked below.  
 
 
VIDEO: AST SpaceMobile Space-based Cellular Network
Featured Image Source: AST SpaceMobile via Twitter







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