An illustration of the SpaceMobile satellite constellation.

AST SpaceMobile

The shares of satellite smartphone broadband company AST SpaceMobile were traded on the Nasdaq on Wednesday. The company was the first among the youngest aerospace companies to close its SPAC deal.

AST SpaceMobile trades under the ticker ASTS, although the shares were previously listed under the SPAC New Providence prior to the merger.

A SPAC – or Special Purpose Acquisition Company – is a shell company that aims to raise money through an IPO in order to acquire a private company and take it public.

The stock closed 1.8% at $ 11.81 per share on Wednesday after rising 7% in midday trading.

AST corporate headquarters and high volume manufacturing facility in Midland, Texas

AST & Science

AST SpaceMobile, based in Midland, Texas, is building a satellite network, also known as a constellation, that delivers broadband from space directly to consumer smartphones.

Existing satellite networks require additional physical devices to connect to the service, such as B. Iridium’s mobile satellite telephones or SpaceX’s Starlink user terminals. However, the satellite communications market is increasingly crowded with new services like OneWeb, Telesat, and Lockheed Martin’s recent partnership with space-based 5G startup Omnispace.

“We don’t see the other satellite [low Earth Orbit] Constellations like Starlink as a competitor. In fact, we think that’s a great thing as it cuts startup costs and makes the space more affordable for the masses, “AST chairman and CEO Abel Avellan told CNBC’s Morgan Brennan on Wednesday.

The company, which raised around $ 120 million in private capital prior to the SPAC deal, expects total proceeds from the merger of around $ 462 million. The new capital will finance the development of the company’s network. AST plans to launch the next BlueWalker 3 demonstration satellite later this year. Avellan said AST expects to announce launch contracts “soon” with several rocket companies to deliver its satellites into orbit.

“It’s a long-term opportunity … but it’s a very, very big opportunity in a very large addressable market,” Avellan said.

The conclusion of the AST contract is the first in a recent series of space SPACs. Seven space companies, including AST, have announced SPAC mergers in the past six months.