Eutelsat keeps Bezos Blue Origin launch order
April 13, 2022
Back at the Satellite 2017 show, in front of thousands of delegates, Eutelsat’s then CEO Rodolphe Belmer signed a contract with Jeff Bezos for the very first order for Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket. Eutelsat and Blue Origin, in a statement at the time, said the rocket would be ready “by the end of the decade”.
New Glenn itself is somewhat delayed but news last week saw Bezos order up at least 12 New Glenn launches with options for another 15, and an element of urgency in the overall package (which includes launches with Arianespace as well as the United Launch Alliance).
All will be used to place Amazon’s Project Kuiper broadband-by-satellite craft into orbit.
Eutelsat now says it has no specific launch date slated for New Glenn, stating: “New Glenn is part of our portfolio of launch options and will be activated based on our future needs taking into consideration industry conditions at the time. Our launch contract with Blue Origin for a Eutelsat unspecified satellite on a New Glenn rocket is still current. It will help to diversify options for access to space.”
The New Glenn booster rocket is designed to fly itself back to Earth so it can be recovered and re-flown, and thus reduce launch costs. New Glenn itself is able to carry about twice the lift payload of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
“We think that our role as an industry leader is to stimulate competition so that there is a stream of innovation … and that access to space is easier,” Belmer said back in 2017. “When the opportunity of […] New Glenn presented itself, we jumped on it.”