3/1/2018 – mu Space Corp, Thailand’s first space technology startup to acquire a satellite license is set to raise over 300 million baht (about US$9.2 million) this year in an effort to fund its business development and expansion.
The fundraising round is planned after the startup has received a license from the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission last month to launch its geostationary satellite and provide satellite-based services.
mu Space was founded by James Yenbamroong which previously studied aerospace and mechanical engineering at the University of California. After he graduated, he was a project lead for unmanned vehicle systems at Northrop Grumman.
And it was after years of working in the United States, that he later decided to move back to Thailand to pursue his passion.
Last August, Yenbamroong set up mu Space in partnership with a private Thai company – starting with a registered capital of more than 100 million baht (about US$3 million).
“We are still looking for a funding partner for the new fundraising,” said Yenbamroong. “This year, we are looking at providing nationwide service in Thailand and expanding our coverage in neighboring countries, particularly Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam.”
Aside from providing satellite communication, the startup is also looking to venture into space tourism. Space tourism is expensive and viable only for those who are rich and have the passion to explore space. Yenbamroong, however, foresees a future where the service will be available to more people as reusable rockets.
“Although Blue Origin, SpaceX, and Virgin Galactic are leading the space tourism industry, however, none of them are based in Asia,” said Yenbamroong. “That’s why I decided to go with this business, I want to be the first in Asia. Having the head office in Thailand is just perfect for the business because the country is a famous tourist destination worldwide.”
With the space industry worldwide predicted to be worth US$2.7 trillion in the next 30 years, the startup will join the space race with the launch of our own satellite in 2021 using Blue Origin’s launch rocket. In the next decade, the startup will offer space tourism to customers in Asia.
In September 2017, mu Space became Blue Origin’s first Asian customer by signing a partnership agreement to launch its first geostationary satellite aboard the latter’s New Glenn orbital rocket.
“As the company gears up for expansion, we plan to grow the team to a minimum of 50 people in 2018. We’ll be hiring more engineers and other experts from varying backgrounds,” Yenbamroong said.