By Irene Klotz and Mike Stone
(Reuters) - Blue Origin, a rocket company owned by Amazon.com Inc Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, has signed Eutelsat Communications SA as its first customer for satellite launch services, he said on Tuesday.
Blue Origin is developing a reusable orbital rocket called New Glenn that is expected to debut before the end of the decade.
“We couldn’t hope for a better first partner,” Bezos said during a keynote address at the Satellite 2017 conference.
The target date for the first launch is around 2021, Eutelsat CEO Rodolphe Belmer said.
New Glenn is a follow-on program to Origin's suborbital New Shepard launch system, a rocket and capsule designed to fly payloads and passengers to about 62 miles above the planet. Test flights with crew members aboard are expected to begin this year.
The company has not yet set a price for rides.
Like New Shepard, the New Glenn booster is designed to fly itself back to Earth so it can be recovered and reflown, slashing launch costs. Tech billionaire Elon Musk’s Space Exploration Technologies also favors this approach.
(Reporting by Mike Stone and Irene Klotz; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)