AST SpaceMobile, the company building the first and only space-based cellular broadband network accessible directly by standard mobile phones, has confirmed the successful placement of BlueWalker 3 into space.
The BlueWalker 3 test satellite successfully launched on Saturday, September 10, 2022, at 9:20 pm EDT from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Engineers made contact with BlueWalker 3 less than an hour after take-off, confirming its trajectory.
"BlueWalker 3 is on course and securely circling the earth," said Scott Wisniewski, Chief Strategy Officer of AST SpaceMobile. "The satellite is thermally stable and is communicating directly with ground stations. Our team is now operating from three global mission control centers, including Maryland, Colorado, and Australia, where we are directly receiving data from BlueWalker 3."
AST SpaceMobile broadcasted live from launch pad 39A before lifting off, interviewing key partners from American Tower, Vodafone Group, and Nokia. Replays of the show’s executive interviews, including Chairman and CEO of AST SpaceMobile Abel Avellan, can be found on the company’s YouTube page.
“A major achievement in our mission to connect the unconnected has been accomplished," said Abel Avellan, Chairman and CEO of AST SpaceMobile. “We are working hard to ensure that no one becomes a second-class citizen, regardless of where they live or work, because of their lack of access to cellular broadband.”
AST SpaceMobile has a portfolio of more than 2,400 patent- and patent-pending claims supporting its space-based cellular broadband technology, with agreements and understandings with over 25 Mobile Network Operators ("MNOs") globally, who collectively provide service to over 1.8 billion subscribers. MNOs in the mission's test plans include Vodafone Group, Rakuten Mobile, AT&T, Orange, and others.
AST SpaceMobile continues preparations for the assembly and production of the next phase of satellites called BlueBirds in Texas. Once BlueWalker 3 is operational following in-orbit testing and configuration, testing is planned with MNOs and equipment providers on all 6 inhabited continents.
In-orbit operations and deployment of the BlueWalker 3 satellite are subject to numerous contingencies and technical factors, which must occur successfully to enable the mission's goal of testing direct-to-cell phone broadband connectivity. These factors include but are not limited to, the opening of the satellite's phased array and in-orbit operation of the satellite's hardware and software systems.
Click here to learn about the SpaceMobile Network from AST SpaceMobile.