• Laurence Russell

AST SpaceMobile announces BlueWalker 3, the largest commercial comms array ever deployed to LEO

AST SpaceMobile, Inc., the company building the first and only space-based cellular broadband network accessible directly by standard mobile phones, today announced its BlueWalker 3 (BW3) test satellite is planned to reach orbit September 10 from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, a mission that plans to kick off testing with mobile network operators on six continents, including North America.

AST SpaceMobile, Inc., today announced its BlueWalker 3 test satellite is planned to reach orbit September 10 from Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida

"The start of the BlueWalker 3 mission is a major step forward to provide space-based cellular broadband," said Abel Avellan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AST SpaceMobile. "With agreements and understandings from mobile network operators who collectively provide service to over 1.8 billion subscribers around the globe, the BW3 mission bolsters our mutual commitment to connect the unconnected."


The actual date BW3 reaches orbit remains subject to change and is contingent on several factors, including, but not limited to, timely readiness of the launch vehicle, weather conditions, technical problems, and other unknowns.


At 693 square feet, the phased array on BlueWalker 3 will be the largest commercial communications array ever deployed to low Earth orbit. This large array of antennas is designed to connect directly to existing mobile phones from a much longer distance than traditional cell towers. AST SpaceMobile has a portfolio of more than 2,400 patent- and patent-pending claims supporting its cellular broadband technology.


Once BlueWalker 3 is deployed and operational, in-orbit testing and configuration will begin. AST SpaceMobile plans to conduct BW3 direct-to-cell phone testing on six continents, including North America. Mobile network operators (MNOs) in the mission's test plans include Vodafone, Rakuten Mobile, and Orange, among others. AST SpaceMobile has agreements and understandings with more than 25 MNOs, including a mutual exclusivity with Vodafone in 24 countries.


Members of the public will be able to watch a live broadcast on September 10th on AST SpaceMobile's YouTube channel or view it in person at several public viewing locations throughout the Cape Canaveral area.