Regulatory πŸ’πŸ“œβœ’οΈπŸ”βš–οΈπŸ§‘πŸ½β€βš–οΈπŸ““πŸ“–πŸ“ƒ walkthrough πŸ€ΈπŸ½πŸƒπŸ»β€β™€οΈ and upcoming catalysts. AST SpaceMobile

TL/DR AST SpaceMobile is first mover on direct to cellular phone Low Earth Orbit constellations. It is a very profitable enterprise when they succeed. But first they need regulatory clearance / permission, in the form of licenses. These are important hurdles, and as such will act as major catalysts once cleared. Looking into the state of these applications we find that there will be multiple such catalysts in the next months. You might want to skip to the very last section: Catalyst timeframes. This is a deSPAC. DISCLAIMER This is not financial advice. This is regulatory analysis. The company covered in this writeup is a first mover in uncharted territory. They aim to do what no one has done before. They are pre-revenue. This is a risky business/investment. The writeup covers only one single aspect in depth. You should gain a broader understanding of the funding, technical concept of a business model etc before investing and not do it from reading of a single aspect. Comprehensive, as in you will comprehend things and I should also sayΒ exhaustive, as in you will be exhausted from reading this long writeup. The subject is complex, and as such I might not have understood all things correctly. What is said below is to the best of my knowledge. I added pictures to make the reading less tedious. BACKGROUND In a previous wallstreetbets writeup I outline the company and what makes it unique. This post is recommended background reading if you are not familiar with the company.Β AST SpaceMobile. The Black Swan of Low Earth Orbit satellite communication constellations. 🦒🦒🦒🦒🦒🦒🦒🦒🦒🦒 πŸ¦… Why is it so different? SATELLITE COMMUNICATION COMPANIES, THE MAIN RISKS. The main risks to satellite services is not technology, it is regulations. The above chart outlines the main risks that satellite services companies face. As can be seenΒ regulatory risks are the main risks.Β As such overcoming these hurdles and getting the needed permits and licenses will act as major catalysts. Screenshot from the US market access application showing network architecture. Analyzing the applications in question, which are two the Bluewalker 3 single experimental satellite application and the application for US market access of the SpaceMobile constellation we find three major parts/ hurdles that are subject to the regulators approval. These three main regulatory risks are:Β FronthaulΒ (satellite to cellular phone spectrum),Β BackhaulΒ (satellite to gateway spectrum) andΒ Orbital debris.Β We shall look into them all below. FRONTHAUL CELLULAR SPECTRUM - USA For SpaceMobile constellation US market access application AST legal/regulatory division has been very bright and exploited a regulation that opens up their use of partner cellular spectrum wherever that is not used terrestrially by a very simple and straightforward method, requiring no application nor permission of authorities, just notification. The initial application for SpaceMobile constellation contained fronthaul (cellular, satellite to phone) control and backhaul (satellite to groundstation) bands. This has since been amended (see below). And the application now contains just backhaul and satellite control bands. Whereas the applications for the cellular fronthaul bands will see a different regulatory very streamlined and simple process. Screenshot of the public notice when AST SpaceMobile amended its application. https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-368002A1.pdf This other process is available since in September 2004 when the FCC ventured into taking: ”additional steps to facilitate the development of secondary markets expand upon and complement several of the Commission’s major policy initiatives and public interest objectives. These include our efforts to encourage the development of broadband services for all Americans, promote increased facilities-based competition among service providers, enhance economic opportunities and access for the provision of communications services, and enable development of additional and innovative services in rural areas” Quote above is from FCC 04-167 Its a bit of a complex read, p27 is the key paragraph: 27. Thus, if the spectrum leasing transaction does not involve a geographic overlap with spectrum held by the spectrum lessee in any of the particular services listed, as described above, we will permit the leasing arrangement to proceed without prior public notice or case-by-case review.”* Reading a note to the AST amendment of the SpaceMobile application it becomes clear this is indeed the backdoor / approach AST intends to use to gain US market access to use the cellular fronthaul frequencies. It is thereby no longer an intricate application to the FCC, it has been reduced to a simple notification process. Screenshot of letter attached to amendment off the original SpaceMobile constellation application. Highlighted text shows the reasoning behind seeking the amendment. This and the regulations cited above suggests a notification is all it takes, not an application to use the leased terrestrial cellular spectrum for AST SpaceMobile Satellite constellation in the USA.A regulation put in place to maximize the use of spectrum in the USA, comes handy indeed. This regulation derisks the US market access application for SpaceMobile constellation, considerably. And as the US to large extent serves as regulatory benchmark for the developed world when it comes to space this will see effects in other markets. FRONTHAUL CELLULAR SPECTRUM - REST OF THE WORLD As described in a report that can be purchased from Quilty the access to use fronthaul spectrum is a process that is different in different countries. And in some countries this is subject to a unified license regime. On these markets gaining access to fronthaul will be just as straight forward / streamlined as in the USA. Partner Mobile network operators are already allowed to use them from satellite. I have done extensive searches for partner companies that holds unified licenses.The countries I have found are Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, India, HongKong and Rwanda. AST does not provide this list it is assembled from multiple sources by me. Further investigations has led to a comprehensive list of the 20 terrestrial mobile network operators that are AST SpaceMobile partners. These collectively hold 1.5 Bn customers and the business model of AST SpaceMobile involves applying for permission / licenses where needed through these terrestrial partners. As Quilty describes it this process will be fast in some countries, and likely see regulators in other countries rush to cut the redtape when they the opportunity to close the digital divide by allowing the use. On some markets, however, such processes will likely stall or be glacial. The partners under MoU or agreements are: MTN, Vodafone, Telecom Argentina, Telstra, Liberty Latin America, Tigo (Millicom International), America Movil, Telefonica, Safaricom, Indosat, Vodacom, Smart, Uganda Telecom (UTL), AT&T, Rakuten, American Towers, Africell, MUNI, LIBTELCO and perhaps still Bell Canada, but the latter is not confirmed. AST does not provide this complete list when asked it is assembled from multiple sources by me. Just as the unified licenses are found in near equatorial countries, so is the partner coverage high near the equator. Companies like America Movil, AT&T, Tigo, Telecom Argentina, Telefonica, LL America means 80%+ of customers in Latin America are covered. And in Africa MTN and vodafone group dominate. Smart and Indosat Ooredoo Hutchinson partnerships covers Philippines and Indonesia. This focus is explained by the fact that AST SpaceMobile will launch the equtorial constellation initially consisting of 18 satellites and 2 in orbit spares for a total of 20, starting launches in 2022. Connecting the unconnected is an AST objective there are lots of these potential customers near the equator. Starting the rollout where regulatory issues are most easily overcome and access most swiftly granted is most likely another AST objective, these objectives are both met near the equator. ORBITAL DEBRIS RISKS - Bluewalker 3. A close foreseeable catalyst for AST SpaceMobile would be the Bluewalker 3 experimental satellite application grant, which by all measures progresses smoothly an answer to the last outstanding question from the FCC regarding orbital debris was answered nov 15, and the answer filed November 18 2021. The ball lies now with the FCC, and if there are no more questions to ask the next step will be to grant the application. I foresee no regulatory issues there. But in this phase permits/ lisences granted will still move share price. As all questions so far has been answered, and FCC letters only contain single questions now, the AST Bluewalker 3 application is mature for approval any day. An imminent catalyst before end of year. Orbital debris density varies with altitude, the lowest altitudes are kept clean by drag ORBITAL DEBRIS RISKS - SpaceMobile constellation US Market Access application. The individual requirement per satellite is to get below 1:10,000 risk. As the AST satellites fly edge on they present small area that debris might impact and the US market access application states 1:19,700. risk per satellite. Screenshot from AST SpaceMobile constellation US Market Access application showing a 1:19,700 total risk calculated using standard NASA software. 1/19,700= 0.00005076 that would be the individual large object impact risk probability. When the satellite is flying on the altitude of the application as calculated with branch std NASA software. If they are duds. Then the regulations say to consider maneuver able sats 0 risk (as space is monitored and they can maneuver away) and they say to use a 10% failure rate. And get below 0.001 total constellation impact risk. That is below .1% one in a thousand times that some satellite would have an object impact. So for a 243 sat constellation we have 24.3 theoretical dead in the sky sats we need to calculate the aggregated large object orbital debris risk for. The way to do that is to first calculate the chance of a single sat not colliding. That is: 1-0.000005076=0.99994924 Then we calculate the chance of no one out of 24.3 sats collide: 0.99994924^ 24.3 That is a chance of 0.99881289 that all duds make it. The complimentary event being 0.00119 That is pretty close to the limit of 0.001 total risk. Now regulations are clear on the fact 0.001 is not a rule, it is a benchmark that the FCC may choose to do exemptions from. Meaning they can allow a risk larger than 0.001. So there are a number of tweaks to this. One would be to amend application to 198 satellites whereby the limit is just met. 198 is more than needed for full global MIMO, then play the starlink trick once global MIMO is achieved and lower altitude. A second way is to ask FCC to make an exemption of the 0.001 total debris impact risk limit. A third way is to claim that the spacecrafts having multiple magnetorquers (10x redundancy) throughout the array as well as also having Orbion Hall effect thrusters is less likely to fail orbital avoidance having dual redundant maneuverability. And ask exemption from 10% failure rate. Orbion Hall Effect (Ion) thrusters A magnetorquer (this one made by AST subsidiary NanoAvionics. Multiple Magentorquers are distributed throughout the Bluebird satellite arrays for redundancy. They change pitch, yaw and roll of LEO spacecraft with help of the earth magnetic field and require no propellant. A fourth is to lower altitude of constellation from start. A fifth way is to launch a separate constellation to cover USA using other orbital planes. (This would be unlikely). A sixth way is a slight reduction of size. We have seen this played out already, presumably as R and D has developed more efficient microns (it is the name of the antenna array elements), and studies likely narrowed down the number of beams actually needed per sat. Array has shrunk from 30x30 a year ago, to 24x24 (Deutsche Bank coverage) to 20x20 (Barclays coverage report, company statements) and 20x17.8 (measured by me from recent company renderings). If this ongoing reduction leads to amendment of orbital debris impact risk later on remains to see. They might have shrunk a bit since application was filed. Size and proportion of AST Bluebird satellites. These have a new form factor for satellites, travel to space packed as cubes and unfolds using mechanically stored energy (spring loaded) dampening hinges to form a flat array that flies in low drag configuration edge first. It measures 20 x 17.8 meters and features 330 square meters of phased array each, compared to less than 2 square meters on a Starlink satellite. This huge antenna is key to connect directly to cellular phones. Flying edge first is also a design feature that allows a lot more antenna real estate without violating orbital debris regulations. It is an AST objective to have 336 sats up by 2027 according to AST investor presentation. This is the equivalent of 2 x 168 satellite constellations. Mirroring the Starlink double constellation concept. Two such constellations would use two different aggregated orbital debris collision risk calculations. If you add a 30% margin on 168 you end up with 243 satellites. The AST SpaceMobile US market access application is for 243 satellites, whereas just 168 are actually needed for the first MIMO global constellation. It stands to reason there might be a 30% margin to the application that is mostly a negotiation tactic. And if so the 168 needed satellites for global MIMO have an aggregated risk well below the regulatory requirement. If we consider this 2 x 168 satellites the real objective of AST, then orbital debris will not be an issue for the initial 168 US market access application. BACKHAUL CELLULAR SPECTRUM Q and V bands. AST SpaceMobile use extremely high throughput Q and V bands for satellite backhaul. The access to these bands are achieved on two parallel routes, one is application to ITU, this has been done through NICTA, a regulatory body of Papua New Guinea who has approved the AST SpaceMobile application to launch. AST attests to this fact in correspondence with the FCC. The second route is by application to each respective country where AST, or its partners Vodafone and American Towers operates a terrestrial Space station / gateway. For most parts this will be American Towers and AST will lease the terrestrial Space Stations to avoid Capital Expenditures, CapEx. Now The Architecture is NewRadio some next level technology that uses leaders at virtualisation Altiostar and Rakuten software to virtualize the entire network and have AI slice it for optimum performance on throughput and latency and distribute the traffic on legacy cellular networks and the internet as appropriate. Using the internet for this is one factor that means AST will not need a terrestrial ground station, nor such permits for backhaul, in each and every country where they operate. just in some. In the USΒ an extra licensing roundΒ has been initiated by the FCC to supply AST SpaceMobile with backhaul cellular spectrum. Applications to take part in this round ends on Nov 4 2021. After this date judging by the OneWeb 92 days after deadline and Kuiper 65 days offsets from last round. AST SpaceMobile will receive their Backhaul spectrum grant somewhere between Jan 8 2022 to Feb 4 2022. Found this link last Friday, also says the commentary period is over for SpaceMobile. The existence of this licensing round is a little known fact. Importantly the Kuiper application in the prior round hadΒ  _not_ yet resolved their orbital debris issues but were still granted v-band rights conditional of later fixing their orbital debris analysis. This means these processes are parallell and will be resolved seperately not delaying the frequenzy grant. They might serve as two seperate catalysts. The orbital debris issue might take another month or two of correspondence to resolve, we see this from the BW3 correspondence. Putting the complete AST US Market access grant, including orbital debris, somewhere in the same timeframe as BW3 launch window March-April 2022 or some month later: June 2022. OTHER REGULATORY MATTERS, THE 3GPP 5g standard. Many constellations try to do satellite communications and they compensate for small phased arrays in space and to wide beams by using proprietary user equipment and proprietary communication standards. AST does not use proprietary standards nor proprietary phones. They are adpating to the existing standard. And the existing standard is adapting to AST SpaceMobile. 3GPP 5g standard release 16, and later release 17, contain many techniques that are suited for connection to satellite, including better adopted to doppler and latency of LEO satellites, 4x4 beamhandling MIMO, carrier aggregation, improved power management, and positioning. This mutualistic / synergistic relationship between the terrestrial end user equipment and the space based satellites will continue to improve once they connect. The chip Qualcomm x65 which has been with OEM manufacturers in 2021 and will be in phones from 2022 already incorporates release 16. This chip is manufactured by AST partner Samsung. AST will connect to legacy cellphones, including smartphones. But as new phones are launched they will keep getting better at it, and add functionality such as very accurate assured 5g positioning. More reliable than GPS, less prone to interference, jamming and spoofing. Good for drones, which by the way also AST latency is, sub 30 ms. Iridium latency in comparison is terrible: above 300 ms. 5g through AST SpaceMobile thereby likely to get regulatory approval to pilot drones and vehicles remotely by low latency sensor feed and assured positioning / fused LEO GNSS. Fused LEO GNSS. GPS type positioning from LEO satellites / assured PNT. Right column. Note the Precision and anti jam anti spoof advantage. +56 dB is 40,000 x stronger signal than GPS. 5g standard release 16 and beyond will include positioning using multiple uplink, downlink and roundtrip multialteration signals as well as angle of arrival/ angle of departure multiangulation. These abilities has civilian and military use cases. CATALYST TIMEFRAMES, Summary of the above.R O U G H E S T I M A T E S Bluewalker 3 experimental satellite license grant. Nov-dec 2021 AST SpaceMobile constellation backhaul Q/V band grant. Jan-Feb 2022 Qualcomm x65 enabled, 3GPP release 16 androids, on the market. H1 2022 Bluewalker 3 launch run up, satellite arrives at launch provider Space-X. February 2022. Bluewalker 3 launch. Mar 2022-April 2022. AST SpaceMobile orbital debris issue resolved, US market access granted. Mar 2022-June 2022. Partner contracts signed, and partner unified licenses, space station landing rights etc. Multiple. Bluewalker 3 testing results March - December 2022 These catalysts will likely move the share price, IF and when they are executed. How the price will move and a model for that trajectory is in anotherΒ writeupΒ on WSB comparing it to another stock. That other stock, Lithium Americas, has tracked the model well running +22% in as many days since that post on a run up to an expected regulatory approval. AST SpaceMobile has yet to start run up and regulatory catalyst spikes but studying the price movement on Lithium Americas on these regulatory milestones should give the investor an idea about the magnitude of regulatory approvals for junior explorers. Be that mining lithium in Nevada or mining connectivity in Space. You still need that permit to start a hugely profitable operation. QUESTIONS? Feel free to ask for references of what is said above. I have not elaborated in depth on sources as this is long writeup already. Most of my Due Diligence is of technical nature, not regulatory, but tech feasibility was not the subject of this writeup so it is only mentioned when relevant from regulatory standpoints.

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Regulatory πŸ’πŸ“œβœ’οΈπŸ”βš–οΈπŸ§‘πŸ½β€βš–οΈπŸ““πŸ“–πŸ“ƒ walkthrough πŸ€ΈπŸ½πŸƒπŸ»β€β™€οΈ and upcoming catalysts. AST SpaceMobile

bullish

TL/DR

  • AST SpaceMobile is first mover on direct to cellular phone Low Earth Orbit constellations. It is a very profitable enterprise when they succeed. But first they need regulatory clearance / permission, in the form of licenses. These are important hurdles, and as such will act as major catalysts once cleared. Looking into the state of these applications we find that there will be multiple such catalysts in the next months. You might want to skip to the very last section: Catalyst timeframes. This is a deSPAC.

DISCLAIMER

  • This is not financial advice. This is regulatory analysis.

  • The company covered in this writeup is a first mover in uncharted territory. They aim to do what no one has done before. They are pre-revenue. This is a risky business/investment. The writeup covers only one single aspect in depth. You should gain a broader understanding of the funding, technical concept of a business model etc before investing and not do it from reading of a single aspect.

  • Comprehensive, as in you will comprehend things and I should also say exhaustive, as in you will be exhausted from reading this long writeup. The subject is complex, and as such I might not have understood all things correctly. What is said below is to the best of my knowledge. I added pictures to make the reading less tedious.

BACKGROUND

SATELLITE COMMUNICATION COMPANIES, THE MAIN RISKS.

r/SPACs - Comprehensive regulatory πŸ’πŸ“œβœ’οΈπŸ”βš–οΈπŸ§‘πŸ½‍βš–οΈπŸ““πŸ“–πŸ“ƒ walkthrough πŸ•ΊπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ½πŸ€ΈπŸ½πŸƒπŸ»‍♀️ and upcoming catalysts timeframe β³πŸš€πŸ—“.β°πŸ“ˆπŸš€on AST SpaceMobile applications.

The main risks to satellite services is not technology, it is regulations.

 

  • The above chart outlines the main risks that satellite services companies face. As can be seen regulatory risks are the main risks. As such overcoming these hurdles and getting the needed permits and licenses will act as major catalysts.

r/SPACs - Comprehensive regulatory πŸ’πŸ“œβœ’οΈπŸ”βš–οΈπŸ§‘πŸ½‍βš–οΈπŸ““πŸ“–πŸ“ƒ walkthrough πŸ•ΊπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ½πŸ€ΈπŸ½πŸƒπŸ»‍♀️ and upcoming catalysts timeframe β³πŸš€πŸ—“.β°πŸ“ˆπŸš€on AST SpaceMobile applications.

Screenshot from the US market access application showing network architecture.

  • Analyzing the applications in question, which are two the Bluewalker 3 single experimental satellite application and the application for US market access of the SpaceMobile constellation we find three major parts/ hurdles that are subject to the regulators approval. These three main regulatory risks are: Fronthaul (satellite to cellular phone spectrum), Backhaul (satellite to gateway spectrum) and Orbital debris. We shall look into them all below.

FRONTHAUL CELLULAR SPECTRUM - USA

  • For SpaceMobile constellation US market access application AST legal/regulatory division has been very bright and exploited a regulation that opens up their use of partner cellular spectrum wherever that is not used terrestrially by a very simple and straightforward method, requiring no application nor permission of authorities, just notification.

  • The initial application for SpaceMobile constellation contained fronthaul (cellular, satellite to phone) control and backhaul (satellite to groundstation) bands. This has since been amended (see below). And the application now contains just backhaul and satellite control bands. Whereas the applications for the cellular fronthaul bands will see a different regulatory very streamlined and simple process.

r/SPACs - Comprehensive regulatory πŸ’πŸ“œβœ’οΈπŸ”βš–οΈπŸ§‘πŸ½‍βš–οΈπŸ““πŸ“–πŸ“ƒ walkthrough πŸ•ΊπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ½πŸ€ΈπŸ½πŸƒπŸ»‍♀️ and upcoming catalysts timeframe β³πŸš€πŸ—“.β°πŸ“ˆπŸš€on AST SpaceMobile applications.

Screenshot of the public notice when AST SpaceMobile amended its application. https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/DOC-368002A1.pdf

  • This other process is available since in September 2004 when the FCC ventured into taking:

”additional steps to facilitate the development of secondary markets expand upon and complement several of the Commission’s major policy initiatives and public interest objectives. These include our efforts to encourage the development of broadband services for all Americans, promote increased facilities-based competition among service providers, enhance economic opportunities and access for the provision of communications services, and enable development of additional and innovative services in rural areas”

  • Quote above is from FCC 04-167 Its a bit of a complex read, p27 is the key paragraph:

27. Thus, if the spectrum leasing transaction does not involve a geographic overlap with spectrum held by the spectrum lessee in any of the particular services listed, as described above, we will permit the leasing arrangement to proceed without prior public notice or case-by-case review.”*

  • Reading a note to the AST amendment of the SpaceMobile application it becomes clear this is indeed the backdoor / approach AST intends to use to gain US market access to use the cellular fronthaul frequencies. It is thereby no longer an intricate application to the FCC, it has been reduced to a simple notification process.

 

r/SPACs - Comprehensive regulatory πŸ’πŸ“œβœ’οΈπŸ”βš–οΈπŸ§‘πŸ½‍βš–οΈπŸ““πŸ“–πŸ“ƒ walkthrough πŸ•ΊπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ½πŸ€ΈπŸ½πŸƒπŸ»‍♀️ and upcoming catalysts timeframe β³πŸš€πŸ—“.β°πŸ“ˆπŸš€on AST SpaceMobile applications.

Screenshot of letter attached to amendment off the original SpaceMobile constellation application. Highlighted text shows the reasoning behind seeking the amendment. This and the regulations cited above suggests a notification is all it takes, not an application to use the leased terrestrial cellular spectrum for AST SpaceMobile Satellite constellation in the USA.A regulation put in place to maximize the use of spectrum in the USA, comes handy indeed. This regulation derisks the US market access application for SpaceMobile constellation, considerably. And as the US to large extent serves as regulatory benchmark for the developed world when it comes to space this will see effects in other markets.

FRONTHAUL CELLULAR SPECTRUM - REST OF THE WORLD

  • As described in a report that can be purchased from Quilty the access to use fronthaul spectrum is a process that is different in different countries. And in some countries this is subject to a unified license regime. On these markets gaining access to fronthaul will be just as straight forward / streamlined as in the USA. Partner Mobile network operators are already allowed to use them from satellite. I have done extensive searches for partner companies that holds unified licenses.The countries I have found are Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, India, HongKong and Rwanda. AST does not provide this list it is assembled from multiple sources by me.

  • Further investigations has led to a comprehensive list of the 20 terrestrial mobile network operators that are AST SpaceMobile partners. These collectively hold 1.5 Bn customers and the business model of AST SpaceMobile involves applying for permission / licenses where needed through these terrestrial partners. As Quilty describes it this process will be fast in some countries, and likely see regulators in other countries rush to cut the redtape when they the opportunity to close the digital divide by allowing the use. On some markets, however, such processes will likely stall or be glacial. The partners under MoU or agreements are: MTN, Vodafone, Telecom Argentina, Telstra, Liberty Latin America, Tigo (Millicom International), America Movil, Telefonica, Safaricom, Indosat, Vodacom, Smart, Uganda Telecom (UTL), AT&T, Rakuten, American Towers, Africell, MUNI, LIBTELCO and perhaps still Bell Canada, but the latter is not confirmed. AST does not provide this complete list when asked it is assembled from multiple sources by me.

  • Just as the unified licenses are found in near equatorial countries, so is the partner coverage high near the equator. Companies like America Movil, AT&T, Tigo, Telecom Argentina, Telefonica, LL America means 80%+ of customers in Latin America are covered. And in Africa MTN and vodafone group dominate. Smart and Indosat Ooredoo Hutchinson partnerships covers Philippines and Indonesia. This focus is explained by the fact that AST SpaceMobile will launch the equtorial constellation initially consisting of 18 satellites and 2 in orbit spares for a total of 20, starting launches in 2022. Connecting the unconnected is an AST objective there are lots of these potential customers near the equator. Starting the rollout where regulatory issues are most easily overcome and access most swiftly granted is most likely another AST objective, these objectives are both met near the equator.

ORBITAL DEBRIS RISKS - Bluewalker 3.

  • A close foreseeable catalyst for AST SpaceMobile would be the Bluewalker 3 experimental satellite application grant, which by all measures progresses smoothly an answer to the last outstanding question from the FCC regarding orbital debris was answered nov 15, and the answer filed November 18 2021. The ball lies now with the FCC, and if there are no more questions to ask the next step will be to grant the application. I foresee no regulatory issues there. But in this phase permits/ lisences granted will still move share price.

  • As all questions so far has been answered, and FCC letters only contain single questions now, the AST Bluewalker 3 application is mature for approval any day. An imminent catalyst before end of year.

r/SPACs - Comprehensive regulatory πŸ’πŸ“œβœ’οΈπŸ”βš–οΈπŸ§‘πŸ½‍βš–οΈπŸ““πŸ“–πŸ“ƒ walkthrough πŸ•ΊπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ½πŸ€ΈπŸ½πŸƒπŸ»‍♀️ and upcoming catalysts timeframe β³πŸš€πŸ—“.β°πŸ“ˆπŸš€on AST SpaceMobile applications.

Orbital debris density varies with altitude, the lowest altitudes are kept clean by drag

ORBITAL DEBRIS RISKS - SpaceMobile constellation US Market Access application.

  • The individual requirement per satellite is to get below 1:10,000 risk. As the AST satellites fly edge on they present small area that debris might impact and the US market access application states 1:19,700. risk per satellite.

r/SPACs - Comprehensive regulatory πŸ’πŸ“œβœ’οΈπŸ”βš–οΈπŸ§‘πŸ½‍βš–οΈπŸ““πŸ“–πŸ“ƒ walkthrough πŸ•ΊπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ½πŸ€ΈπŸ½πŸƒπŸ»‍♀️ and upcoming catalysts timeframe β³πŸš€πŸ—“.β°πŸ“ˆπŸš€on AST SpaceMobile applications.

Screenshot from AST SpaceMobile constellation US Market Access application showing a 1:19,700 total risk calculated using standard NASA software.

 

  • 1/19,700= 0.00005076 that would be the individual large object impact risk probability. When the satellite is flying on the altitude of the application as calculated with branch std NASA software. If they are duds.

  • Then the regulations say to consider maneuver able sats 0 risk (as space is monitored and they can maneuver away) and they say to use a 10% failure rate. And get below 0.001 total constellation impact risk. That is below .1% one in a thousand times that some satellite would have an object impact.

  • So for a 243 sat constellation we have 24.3 theoretical dead in the sky sats we need to calculate the aggregated large object orbital debris risk for.

  • The way to do that is to first calculate the chance of a single sat not colliding. That is: 1-0.000005076=0.99994924 Then we calculate the chance of no one out of 24.3 sats collide: 0.99994924^ 24.3 That is a chance of 0.99881289 that all duds make it. The complimentary event being 0.00119 That is pretty close to the limit of 0.001 total risk.

  • Now regulations are clear on the fact 0.001 is not a rule, it is a benchmark that the FCC may choose to do exemptions from. Meaning they can allow a risk larger than 0.001. So there are a number of tweaks to this.

  • One would be to amend application to 198 satellites whereby the limit is just met. 198 is more than needed for full global MIMO, then play the starlink trick once global MIMO is achieved and lower altitude.

  • A second way is to ask FCC to make an exemption of the 0.001 total debris impact risk limit.

  • A third way is to claim that the spacecrafts having multiple magnetorquers (10x redundancy) throughout the array as well as also having Orbion Hall effect thrusters is less likely to fail orbital avoidance having dual redundant maneuverability. And ask exemption from 10% failure rate.

r/SPACs - Comprehensive regulatory πŸ’πŸ“œβœ’οΈπŸ”βš–οΈπŸ§‘πŸ½‍βš–οΈπŸ““πŸ“–πŸ“ƒ walkthrough πŸ•ΊπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ½πŸ€ΈπŸ½πŸƒπŸ»‍♀️ and upcoming catalysts timeframe β³πŸš€πŸ—“.β°πŸ“ˆπŸš€on AST SpaceMobile applications.

Orbion Hall Effect (Ion) thrusters

 

 

r/SPACs - Comprehensive regulatory πŸ’πŸ“œβœ’οΈπŸ”βš–οΈπŸ§‘πŸ½‍βš–οΈπŸ““πŸ“–πŸ“ƒ walkthrough πŸ•ΊπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ½πŸ€ΈπŸ½πŸƒπŸ»‍♀️ and upcoming catalysts timeframe β³πŸš€πŸ—“.β°πŸ“ˆπŸš€on AST SpaceMobile applications.

A magnetorquer (this one made by AST subsidiary NanoAvionics. Multiple Magentorquers are distributed throughout the Bluebird satellite arrays for redundancy. They change pitch, yaw and roll of LEO spacecraft with help of the earth magnetic field and require no propellant.

  • A fourth is to lower altitude of constellation from start.

  • A fifth way is to launch a separate constellation to cover USA using other orbital planes. (This would be unlikely).

  • A sixth way is a slight reduction of size. We have seen this played out already, presumably as R and D has developed more efficient microns (it is the name of the antenna array elements), and studies likely narrowed down the number of beams actually needed per sat. Array has shrunk from 30x30 a year ago, to 24x24 (Deutsche Bank coverage) to 20x20 (Barclays coverage report, company statements) and 20x17.8 (measured by me from recent company renderings). If this ongoing reduction leads to amendment of orbital debris impact risk later on remains to see. They might have shrunk a bit since application was filed.

r/SPACs - Comprehensive regulatory πŸ’πŸ“œβœ’οΈπŸ”βš–οΈπŸ§‘πŸ½‍βš–οΈπŸ““πŸ“–πŸ“ƒ walkthrough πŸ•ΊπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ½πŸ€ΈπŸ½πŸƒπŸ»‍♀️ and upcoming catalysts timeframe β³πŸš€πŸ—“.β°πŸ“ˆπŸš€on AST SpaceMobile applications.

Size and proportion of AST Bluebird satellites. These have a new form factor for satellites, travel to space packed as cubes and unfolds using mechanically stored energy (spring loaded) dampening hinges to form a flat array that flies in low drag configuration edge first. It measures 20 x 17.8 meters and features 330 square meters of phased array each, compared to less than 2 square meters on a Starlink satellite. This huge antenna is key to connect directly to cellular phones. Flying edge first is also a design feature that allows a lot more antenna real estate without violating orbital debris regulations.

 

  • It is an AST objective to have 336 sats up by 2027 according to AST investor presentation. This is the equivalent of 2 x 168 satellite constellations. Mirroring the Starlink double constellation concept. Two such constellations would use two different aggregated orbital debris collision risk calculations. If you add a 30% margin on 168 you end up with 243 satellites. The AST SpaceMobile US market access application is for 243 satellites, whereas just 168 are actually needed for the first MIMO global constellation. It stands to reason there might be a 30% margin to the application that is mostly a negotiation tactic. And if so the 168 needed satellites for global MIMO have an aggregated risk well below the regulatory requirement. If we consider this 2 x 168 satellites the real objective of AST, then orbital debris will not be an issue for the initial 168 US market access application.

BACKHAUL CELLULAR SPECTRUM Q and V bands.

  • AST SpaceMobile use extremely high throughput Q and V bands for satellite backhaul.

  • The access to these bands are achieved on two parallel routes, one is application to ITU, this has been done through NICTA, a regulatory body of Papua New Guinea who has approved the AST SpaceMobile application to launch. AST attests to this fact in correspondence with the FCC.

  • The second route is by application to each respective country where AST, or its partners Vodafone and American Towers operates a terrestrial Space station / gateway. For most parts this will be American Towers and AST will lease the terrestrial Space Stations to avoid Capital Expenditures, CapEx. Now The Architecture is NewRadio some next level technology that uses leaders at virtualisation Altiostar and Rakuten software to virtualize the entire network and have AI slice it for optimum performance on throughput and latency and distribute the traffic on legacy cellular networks and the internet as appropriate. Using the internet for this is one factor that means AST will not need a terrestrial ground station, nor such permits for backhaul, in each and every country where they operate. just in some.

  • In the US an extra licensing round has been initiated by the FCC to supply AST SpaceMobile with backhaul cellular spectrum. Applications to take part in this round ends on Nov 4 2021. After this date judging by the OneWeb 92 days after deadline and Kuiper 65 days offsets from last round. AST SpaceMobile will receive their Backhaul spectrum grant somewhere between Jan 8 2022 to Feb 4 2022. Found this link last Friday, also says the commentary period is over for SpaceMobile. The existence of this licensing round is a little known fact.

  • Importantly the Kuiper application in the prior round had  _not_ yet resolved their orbital debris issues but were still granted v-band rights conditional of later fixing their orbital debris analysis. This means these processes are parallell and will be resolved seperately not delaying the frequenzy grant. They might serve as two seperate catalysts. The orbital debris issue might take another month or two of correspondence to resolve, we see this from the BW3 correspondence. Putting the complete AST US Market access grant, including orbital debris, somewhere in the same timeframe as BW3 launch window March-April 2022 or some month later: June 2022.

OTHER REGULATORY MATTERS, THE 3GPP 5g standard.

  • Many constellations try to do satellite communications and they compensate for small phased arrays in space and to wide beams by using proprietary user equipment and proprietary communication standards. AST does not use proprietary standards nor proprietary phones. They are adpating to the existing standard. And the existing standard is adapting to AST SpaceMobile.

  • 3GPP 5g standard release 16, and later release 17, contain many techniques that are suited for connection to satellite, including better adopted to doppler and latency of LEO satellites, 4x4 beamhandling MIMO, carrier aggregation, improved power management, and positioning. This mutualistic / synergistic relationship between the terrestrial end user equipment and the space based satellites will continue to improve once they connect. The chip Qualcomm x65 which has been with OEM manufacturers in 2021 and will be in phones from 2022 already incorporates release 16. This chip is manufactured by AST partner Samsung.

  • AST will connect to legacy cellphones, including smartphones. But as new phones are launched they will keep getting better at it, and add functionality such as very accurate assured 5g positioning. More reliable than GPS, less prone to interference, jamming and spoofing. Good for drones, which by the way also AST latency is, sub 30 ms. Iridium latency in comparison is terrible: above 300 ms. 5g through AST SpaceMobile thereby likely to get regulatory approval to pilot drones and vehicles remotely by low latency sensor feed and assured positioning / fused LEO GNSS.

r/SPACs - Comprehensive regulatory πŸ’πŸ“œβœ’οΈπŸ”βš–οΈπŸ§‘πŸ½‍βš–οΈπŸ““πŸ“–πŸ“ƒ walkthrough πŸ•ΊπŸ»πŸ’ƒπŸ½πŸ€ΈπŸ½πŸƒπŸ»‍♀️ and upcoming catalysts timeframe β³πŸš€πŸ—“.β°πŸ“ˆπŸš€on AST SpaceMobile applications.

Fused LEO GNSS. GPS type positioning from LEO satellites / assured PNT. Right column. Note the Precision and anti jam anti spoof advantage. +56 dB is 40,000 x stronger signal than GPS. 5g standard release 16 and beyond will include positioning using multiple uplink, downlink and roundtrip multialteration signals as well as angle of arrival/ angle of departure multiangulation. These abilities has civilian and military use cases.

 

CATALYST TIMEFRAMES, Summary of the above.R O U G H E S T I M A T E S

  • Bluewalker 3 experimental satellite license grant. Nov-dec 2021

  • AST SpaceMobile constellation backhaul Q/V band grant. Jan-Feb 2022

  • Qualcomm x65 enabled, 3GPP release 16 androids, on the market. H1 2022

  • Bluewalker 3 launch run up, satellite arrives at launch provider Space-X. February 2022.

  • Bluewalker 3 launch. Mar 2022-April 2022.

  • AST SpaceMobile orbital debris issue resolved, US market access granted. Mar 2022-June 2022.

  • Partner contracts signed, and partner unified licenses, space station landing rights etc. Multiple.

  • Bluewalker 3 testing results March - December 2022

  • These catalysts will likely move the share price, IF and when they are executed. How the price will move and a model for that trajectory is in another writeup on WSB comparing it to another stock. That other stock, Lithium Americas, has tracked the model well running +22% in as many days since that post on a run up to an expected regulatory approval. AST SpaceMobile has yet to start run up and regulatory catalyst spikes but studying the price movement on Lithium Americas on these regulatory milestones should give the investor an idea about the magnitude of regulatory approvals for junior explorers. Be that mining lithium in Nevada or mining connectivity in Space. You still need that permit to start a hugely profitable operation.

QUESTIONS?

  • Feel free to ask for references of what is said above. I have not elaborated in depth on sources as this is long writeup already. Most of my Due Diligence is of technical nature, not regulatory, but tech feasibility was not the subject of this writeup so it is only mentioned when relevant from regulatory standpoints.

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14 min

160.00

Target Price

9/ 10

Confidence

2-6 Months

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