Canadian geostationary communications satellite operator, Telesat, has signed a multi-launch agreement with Blue Origin, the start up launch firm founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, for the use of its New Glenn rocket. With its 7m long fairing and its 45 metric ton to low Earth orbit (LEO) capability of Blue Origin’s heavy-lift New Glenn should allow large numbers of satellites to be launched on a single launch. Using multiple launches of the rocket, Telesat hopes to deploy a circa 300 satellite constellation to offer broadband connectivity. New Glenn’s reusable first stage is powered by 7 BE-4 engine. It will have its maiden orbital flight in 2021 from Launch Complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
Blue Origin is also testing a fully reusable New Shepard suborbital vehicle which is already taking research and technology payloads to space (beyond the 100km Karman line) and, under current plans, will take astronauts into space later this year.