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Direct-to-Satellite Cell-Phone Service Poised For Another Try

Connecting average mobile phones directly to satellites may not be far off

Photo of BlueWalker 3 communications satellite in orbit

Photo of BlueWalker 3 communications satellite in orbit

Source: AST SpaceMobile

A spacecraft the size of a small apartment is signaling the return of an elusive dream for the wireless industry: service that works through satellites in orbit.

AST SpaceMobile Inc.’s BlueWalker 3, a flat waffle of a spacecraft, successfully deployed on Nov. 10, unfolding to its 693-square-foot expanse, the company said Monday. The craft is a test version for AST SpaceMobile’s planned 168-satellite constellation to offer wireless service around the world.