AST&Science plans to produce as many as 100,000 tiny Micron satellites per year in this building at the Midland Air and Space Port. Credit: AST&Science

TAMPA, Fla. — AST & Science, which is developing a cellphone-compatible satellite broadband constellation, will start trading on the Nasdaq next week after getting shareholder approval April 1.

New Providence Acquisition Corp., a special-purpose acquisition company (SPAC) that already trades on the exchange under ticker NPA, said its stockholders have approved a plan to merge with the startup on or about April 6.

The merged company will be known as AST SpaceMobile after the deal closes, when it will also receive around $462 million through the transaction.

The Texas-based venture plans to use the proceeds to accelerate the development of its network. 

It aims to build and launch the first phase of 20 production satellites by early 2023, enabling service to equatorial regions where it can cover 1.6 billion people.

British terrestrial telecoms company Vodafone is an investor and a strategic technology partner.

AST & Science said March 11 that it had amassed 1,000 patent and patent-pending claims.

“We are inventing ground-breaking technologies that will transform how and where people use their mobile devices, and bring hundreds of millions of people in the developing world online for the first time,” AST & Science CEO and chairman Abel Avellan said.

Virginia-based Lynk is also developing a satellite-based communications network that will work with unmodified smartphones.

AST SpaceMobile’s class A common stock and warrants will be listed on the Nasdaq under ticker symbols ASTS and ASTSW, respectively.

A surge of SPAC deals has recently swept across the space industry, and many more are in the works.

Redwire, which has bought several space technology businesses in the last year, became the industry’s latest company to announce a SPAC merger March 25.

Jason Rainbow writes about satellite telecom, space finance and commercial markets for SpaceNews. He has spent more than a decade covering the global space industry as a business journalist. Previously, he was Group Editor-in-Chief for Finance Information...