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Shares of AST SpaceMobile (NASDAQ: ASTS) fell 23.6% on Tuesday after the satellite designer and manufacturer announced another delay in the launch of its first commercial satellites along with its fourth-quarter 2023 results.

More delays for the launch of AST SpaceMobile’s first commercial satellites

In its fourth-quarter earnings press release after the market closed last night, AST SpaceMobile revealed that its first five 700-square-foot Block 1 BlueBird commercial satellites are now expected to be transported from its assembly facilities to a SpaceX launch site between July and August 2024.

Initially, SpaceX was scheduled to fly those satellites on a Falcon 9 rocket in 2023 before supply chain issues impacted the timeline. The company subsequently pushed the expected launch into the first quarter of 2024, then to the second quarter, and now into the third quarter of 2024 — understandably trying investors’ patience in the process.

To blame, according to AST SpaceMobile CEO Abel Avellan, were issues with two suppliers that delayed integration and testing work that needs to be completed prior to the launch.

What’s next for AST SpaceMobile investors?

AST SpaceMobile acknowledged the pitfalls of relying on outside suppliers; during the subsequent earnings conference call with analysts, Avellan noted that the company has already acquired a license to manufacture one of the components and will replace the other supplier with its own design.

AST SpaceMobile has also secured a launch contract for its first 2,400-square-foot next-generation Block 2 BlueBird satellites, with a launch window from December 2024 to March 2025.

Given the repeated delays getting its first-generation commercial satellites into space in the meantime, however, it’s no surprise to see investors bidding down shares of this space stock in response.

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Steve Symington has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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