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AST SpaceMobile Reports Third Quarter Results, May Push Back Launch Date

By | November 17, 2021

      Clean room in Midland, Texas, where final testing on BlueWalker 3 satellite is being conducted. Photo: AST SpaceMobile

      AST SpaceMobile, which is working to build a space-to-cell network, posted its third quarter 2021 financial results on Monday, and raised the possibility of pushing back its prototype satellite launch. This was the company’s second-ever financial report after going public in April through a special purpose acquisition (SPAC) merger. 

      The company reported $2.5 million revenue for Q3, up from $2.1 million in Q3 2020. Comprehensive income attributable to shareholders was $4.1 million. 

      For the third quarter of 2021, AST SpaceMobile reported $23 million in total operating expenses. This is up from $6.5 million in the first quarter of 2021, as the company increased costs for engineering services, general administrative, and research and development. The amount was down $2 million from the prior quarter, sequentially

      AST SpaceMobile is preparing to launch the BlueWalker 3 satellite, which will be used to establish a space-to-cell network for testing in partnership with mobile network operators. 

      On Monday’s call with investors, Chairman and CEO Abel Avellan raised the possibility that the launch could be pushed back from the current SpaceX launch window of March 2022 to April 2022. AST SpaceMobile has the option to rebook the launch window by Dec. 1. Avellan said rescheduling would be within a few months of the original launch date, contingent on SpaceX. 

      “We have not yet determined if we will rebook,” Avellan said. “We have made significant progress on BlueWalker 3 and our team has invested years and effort to get to this point. We want to make sure that we have fully completed our test program for Blue Walker3 before we go to the launch site.” 

      BlueWalker 3 is in the final integration and testing phase and Avellan said he is “very confident” that the large phased array on the satellite will deploy in orbit. He also said on the ground tests have proved the satellite can connect directly to a cellular handset. 

      AST SpaceMobile has invested $56.7 million in the satellite and expects to incur additional $10 million to $12 million in costs. 

      In addition, the company announced that it entered into an agreement to purchase an additional 100,000 square foot facility in Midland, Texas, where its headquarters is located, for manufacturing. AST SpaceMobile also signed a lease for approximately 16,000 square feet of new space for our Maryland Technology Center, set to be the future home of its satellite operations center and network operations center.

      Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the difference in operating expenses between Q2 and Q3. The previous version also misquoted Avellan on the terms “rebook” and “years of effort.”