Starlink 4-2 & BlueWalker 3 (Falcon 9)
10 September 2022
Launch Complex 39A
Kennedy Space Center

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched 34 Starlink satellites and AST SpaceMobile’s BlueWalker 3 satellite to low-Earth orbit from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center at 9:20 p.m. on 10 September 2022. Following stage separation, the first stage landed on the A Shortfall of Gravitas droneship stationed in the Atlantic Ocean. This will also be Falcon 9’s first five-burn mission needed to get BlueWaker 3 to its correct orbit.

The first stage booster supporting this mission previously launched Crew Demo-2, ANASIS-II, CRS-21, Transporter-1, Transporter-3, and eight Starlink missions making this the 14th flight for this first stage booster.

Shortly after liftoff the rocket flew behind a thin cloud layer through which all the following images were taken.
Artist's impression of the AST SpaceMobile BlueWalker 3 satellite in orbit. BlueWalker 3 (BW3) carries a 693-square-foot phased array that is designed to test cellular broadband communications directly with standard mobile phones, from space, for the first time. The BlueWalker 3 mission is expected to complete the company’s initial research and development program and facilitate integration testing with mobile network operators around the world. Image Credit: AST SpaceMobile

AST SpaceMobile is building the first and only global cellular broadband network in space to operate directly with standard, unmodified mobile devices based on our extensive IP and patent portfolio. Our engineers and space scientists are on a mission to eliminate the connectivity gaps faced by today's five billion mobile subscribers and finally bring broadband to the billions who remain unconnected.

Once in low Earth orbit and following initial in-orbit testing and configuration, AST SpaceMobile plans to conduct BW3 direct-to-cell phone testing on every inhabited continent, in coordination with mobile network operators (MNOs). MNOs in the mission’s test plans include Vodafone, Rakuten Mobile, and Orange, among others, using cell phone handsets from major global manufacturers.

Concurrent with the launch of BW3, AST SpaceMobile continues to build out its manufacturing capabilities to reach its goal of building six next-generation BlueBird satellites per month. The company intends to launch a provide cellular broadband from space across the globe – on land, at sea and in the air.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted AST SpaceMobile an experimental license that allows the company to test BlueWalker 3 satellite-to-phone connectivity in the United States at sites in Texas and Hawaii. Once BlueWalker 3 is operational, the company plans to conduct testing on 5 different continents, in coordination with leading mobile network operators like Vodafone, Rakuten Mobile, Orange and others.

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