Blue Origin has acquired its third customer for its reusable New Glenn orbital rocket. Mu Space Corp, a satellite communications provider based in Bangkok, Thailand, announced this week it has entered into an agreement with Blue Origin to use its New Glenn orbital rocket to launch a geostationary satellite. Under the agreement, the launch will take place in 2021.
Start-up Mu Space announced plans to offer telecommunication services in Thailand just last month. The company will offer broadband, broadcast, mobile and satellite services with its first geostationary satellite, and has entered into a multilateral agreement with the Thai government and other stakeholders to bolster Thailand’s smart city and IoT services.
Mu Space CEO James Yenbamroong said the company was impressed with Blue Origin’s “vision and engineering approach,” in a statement. Yenbamroong made the announcement at the 68th Annual International Astronautical Congress, taking place this week in Adelaide, Australia.
Mu Space hopes to extend its services in the future to include space transportation and space tourism. Mu Space calls itself a “space tourism enabler.”
The New Glenn is the Blue Origin’s first reusable orbital rocket, designed to take both crews and payloads to low Earth orbit. The company has spent the past year developing a two-stage and three-stage version of the launcher, and is slated to begin building the rocket this year in Florida. The rocket will be equipped with 7 BE-4 engines delivering 3.85 million pounds of thrust at lift off. Blue Origin has been developing its BE-4 engines — which it hopes will replace the Russian-made RD-180 engine — for six years. Launch tests for the New Glenn are slated for 2020 before beginning commercial services.
While Blue Origin’s suborbital rocket New Shepard has made five successful suborbital test flights, it should be noted that the company has yet to reach orbit in any test flights.
Blue Origin now has three customers signed up to use its rocket. At the Satellite 2017 conference earlier this year, Blue Origin announced France-based satellite operator Eutelsat as its first customer, to launch a geostationary satellite sometime between 2021-2022. Satellite broadband venture OneWeb has also selected Blue Origin to provide launch services for five launches of small sats, starting in 2021.