Shares of recent initial public offering (IPO) and space company AST SpaceMobile (ASTS 0.86%) stock slumped on Monday, and are down 11.5% as of 12:20 p.m. ET.
The company announced today that its launch of a prototype BlueWalker 3 communications satellite, designed to prove the concept of enabling ordinary cellphones to communicate directly with one another via satellite, has been delayed.
To put this announcement in context, in August AST said that BlueWalker 3 was expected to launch aboard a SpaceX rocket in March 2022. Today, the company clarified that what it actually meant was that it had a "launch window" from March 1, 2022 to April 30, 2022 -- and that despite extending its target date for launch by as much as two months in this manner, it won't make that later deadline either.
Instead, AST has "submitted a rebooking notice for a revised launch window targeting Summer 2022." The company explained that it needs more time "for assembly, testing and final launch preparation."
Despite the delay, AST SpaceMobile founder and CEO Abel Avellan assured investors that "our technology development is on track and we have made significant progress on our BlueWalker 3 satellite." He said the updated launch window "provides important and needed additional prep time to ensure a successful satellite launch."
While investors are certainly invested in the launch being a success, however, they seem upset today that BlueWalker 3 will not be going to orbit -- or generating revenue -- until at least two, and perhaps as many as four months later than initially promised.