AST SpaceMobile, the company building the first and only space-based cellular broadband network accessible directly by standard mobile phones, announced that its subsidiary, AST & Science, LLC, and NASA recently signed an agreement to formalize both organizations’ dedication to maintaining and improving safety in the shared environment of space.
The Space Act Agreement formalizes the prompt, detailed, and open sharing of information between AST SpaceMobile and NASA, enabling a deeper level of coordination, cooperation, and data sharing, defining the arrangement, responsibilities, and procedures for flight safety coordination.
“Space is a shared resource that must remain safe and available to all. We are committed to using advanced technologies and best practices to protect this vital resource,” said Raymond Sedwick, Chief Scientist of Space Systems at AST SpaceMobile. “This agreement formalizes a commitment between AST SpaceMobile and NASA to share information and help safeguard low Earth orbit.”
AST SpaceMobile will collaborate with NASA’s Conjunction Assessment Risk Analysis program to generate better flight safety preparedness and practices using a Conjunction Assessment process. AST SpaceMobile will upload predicted trajectory information on an ongoing basis for its BlueWalker 3 test satellite and planned future BlueBird satellites with the U.S. Space Force through a website called Space-Track.org. U.S. Space Force will screen the data for any potential conjunctions or encounters between objects up to a week ahead of time.
BlueWalker 3, launched on September 10, 2022, is equipped with a high-impulse, low-thrust maneuvering system to help steer the spacecraft. AST SpaceMobile’s planned commercial satellites, called BlueBirds — are being designed to provide 4G/5G cellular broadband from space across the globe on land, at sea, and in the air with ion propulsion and other means of maneuvering to help maintain and protect low Earth orbit.
Once BlueWalker 3 is operational following in-orbit testing and configuration, testing is planned with mobile network operators (“MNOs”) and equipment providers on all 6 inhabited continents, using unmodified cell phones from various manufacturers. MNOs in the mission’s test plans include Vodafone Group, Rakuten Mobile, AT&T, Orange, and others. AST SpaceMobile has agreements and understandings with MNOs globally that have over 1.8 billion existing subscribers, and a portfolio of more than 2,600 patent and patent-pending claims supporting its space-based cellular broadband technology.
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