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Saber Astronautics Joins the AST SpaceMobile Operations Team for BlueWalker 3

Sydney-based Saber Astronautics is working with AST SpaceMobile, the company building the first and only space-based cellular broadband network accessible directly by standard mobile phones, to provide 24/7 operations support and key flight software tools for the AST SpaceMobile BlueWalker 3 (“BW3”) operations team. AST SpaceMobile is building a space-based cellular broadband network that is being designed to connect any of the more than 5 billion mobile phones in use today without any modifications, hardware changes, or software updates.

On September 10, BW3 successfully reached its expected orbit after launching out of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. AST SpaceMobile selected the Saber Astronautics Responsive Space Operations CenterTM (RSOC) as one of the mission control solutions to help ensure the functionality, health and safety of their test spacecraft and mission.

BlueWalker 3 is expected to complete the company’s initial R&D program and facilitate integration testing with mobile network operators worldwide. The test satellite has a state-of-the-art 693-square-foot phased array that, once unfolded, would be the largest commercial communications array ever deployed in low Earth orbit.

“Their BlueWalker 3 spacecraft is bleeding edge technology,” said Dr. Jason Held, Saber’s CEO. “Once complete, AST SpaceMobile’s commercial constellation would allow anyone, from almost anywhere in the world, to access cellular data from orbit. This is a game-changer and Saber Astronautics is delighted to be a part of this story.”

The RSOC currently operates two mission control locations for AST SpaceMobile out of Adelaide, Australia and Boulder, Colorado, USA. The RSOC includes a robust network of commercial providers with over 160 available dishes worldwide and modern space traffic analysis tools to support flight safety. To manage the extensive system, Saber developed its own mission control software and infrastructure to monitor space, and handle command and control for complex missions.

The start of the BW3 flight follows a six-month development effort, crew training, and software engineering to integrate BW3 into the RSOC and AST SpaceMobile’s own mission operations and dedicated dishes.

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