James Yenbamroong

James Yenbamroong, born Varayuth Yenbamroong (วรายุทธ เย็นบำรุง), is a space entrepreneur and engineer.[1] He is the founder, CEO and lead design architect of mu Space.[2][3]

James Yenbamroong
Varayuth Yenbamroong (วรายุทธ เย็นบำรุง)[1]

(1984-06-13) June 13, 1984 (age 36)
OccupationEntrepreneur and engineer[1]
TitleFounder, CEO and lead design architect of Mu Space[2][3]
  • Vilas Yenbamroong (father)[4]
  • Lamaiporn Yenbamroong (mother)
RelativesKris Yenbamroong (cousin)[4][5]

Born in 1984 and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, Yenbamroong moved to Waikato, New Zealand when he was 14 to attend Cambridge High School.[6] He later lived in California, USA and finished his secondary education at Beverly Hills High School.[6] He went to the University of California Los Angeles to earn his bachelor degree in Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering and his master degree in Mechanical Engineering.[1][3]

In June 2017, Yenbamroong founded mu Space, a company based in Bangkok that offers satellite services, smart city solutions, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications, of which he is CEO and lead design architect.[7]

In addition to his primary business pursuit, Yenbamroong has future plans of providing space tourism service to people in Asia-Pacific[8] and sending the first 100 humans to the moon.[9] He has stated that the goals of mu Space revolve around his vision of improving the quality of life of people on Earth.[9] His goals include mitigating the impact of human overpopulation on the environment and reducing the risk of human extinction by setting up a lunar habitation.[10]

Early lifeEdit

Born on June 13, 1984 in Bangkok, Yenbamroong was the youngest among three siblings. He is the son of Vilas Yenbamroong, a Thai military general, and Lamaiporn Yenbamroong, a senior US embassy staff in Thailand.[4] He is a cousin of award-winning chef Kris Yenbamroong,[4][5] named Food & Wine Magazine's Best New Chef in 2016 and author of the Night + Market cookbook.[11]

Yenbamroong's interest in aviation started when, as a child, he drew airplanes and robots on the wall of his bedroom.[12] His father, who often brought him to airshows and military museums, had also influenced his fascination with flights and the outer space.

Yenbamroong had read the biographies of Internet entrepreneur Sergey Brin and business magnate Warren Buffett, from which he learned about investing and how to start a company.[12] He was exposed to business at a young age, starting off by selling used books and video games to his childhood friends for profit.[13]


Yenbamroong received his early education in Bangkok at Sarawittaya School.[6] At 14, he went to New Zealand for his secondary education at Cambridge High School, where he was a varsity player in tennis.[6][12] At school, he showed a strong interest in astronomy, physics and kinematics.[1][6]

Yenbamroong later moved to the US and continued his secondary education at Beverly Hills High School.[6] While studying, he played for the school's soccer team.[12] His time in the US, which coincided with the boom of private space ventures,[14] had influenced Yenbamroong's decision to pursue a university degree in Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering.[1] He obtained his bachelor degree in 2008 from the University of California Los Angeles and his master degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2010 from the same university.[3]


Early careerEdit

During his initial years in the US, Yenbamroong worked as part-time staff at Talesai, a Thai restaurant in Los Angeles. He was later a physics lab assistant at Santa Monica College and an intern at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works.

While studying at the University of California Los Angeles, Yenbamroong worked as a system engineer for satellite projects at Northrop Grumman, an aerospace and defense technology company.[1] He was later promoted as project lead for unmanned vehicle systems at Northrop.[3] Yenbamroong left the US and moved back to Bangkok in 2014.[4]

Space and satellite companyEdit

In June 2017, Yenbamroong founded mu Space and Advanced Technology, or mu Space, using his personal money.[4] The company researches and develops satellite and smart city services for urban and rural areas.[15][16] mu Space initially had 6 staff[12] and later increased to 30 after the company raised US$3 million in funds.[17]

In December 2017, Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission granted mu Space a 15-year license until 2032 to provide satellite services in the country.[18] The company is temporarily using the satellites of another company SES[19] to provide broadband services, pending the launch of the company's own satellite in 2021.[18] Worth up to US$150 million,[20] the satellite will use the 50.5-degrees East orbital slot to provide coverage over Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand.[21]

Initially focused on the implementation of a satellite-powered broadband project in Thailand,[15] the company under Yenbamroong, later on, started doing space-related activities. In July 2018, mu Space became the first Asian company to send a payload aboard the New Shepard rocket of Blue Origin to test the effects of microgravity on properties of materials.[22] The payload included a silicon bleeding-prevention device used in hospitals, a carbon nanotube and a vacuum-sealed food product.[3] In April 2019, Yenbamroong revealed that mu Space has submitted a proposal to NASA to build a lunar landing system.[23]

Venture capitalEdit

Yenbamroong is opening in 2019 a venture capital unit to provide funds to startups and medium-sized companies working on artificial intelligence, robotics, space research and deep space exploration.[24] The venture unit, with an initial fund of US$100 million, will be set up in Singapore.[25]

Tham Luang cave rescueEdit

Yenbamroong sent several engineers of mu Space to help in the rescue mission to save the 12 boys and their football coach trapped inside Tham Luang cave in 2018.[26] His company mu Space also collaborated with Google and Weather Decision Technologies to provide rescuers with weather forecast models in the cave area.[27]

Elon Musk, the founder of The Boring Company, a US-based tunnel construction company, also discussed with Yenbamroong his plan to help in the rescue.[28] Over Twitter, Musk initially suggested using a ground penetrating radar to dig holes to reach the boys, and then to install a giant air tube that the boys can use as a temporary passageway.[28] Later on, Musk settled on the idea of using kid-sized submarines for the rescue mission, which he had personally flown to Thailand on his private jet.[29] However, Thai authorities did not use the kid-sized submarines,[30] and decided to send divers to extract the trapped boys and their football coach out of the cave.[31]


  • Received the Quality Persons of the Year 2018 award from the Foundation of Science and Technology Council of Thailand[32]
  • Listed in GQ Magazine in 2018 as "19 Thais We Are Proud Of"[33]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "mu Space : Go beyond Earth's gravity towards the next frontier" (PDF). Startup Thailand. October 2018. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Space techpreneur to set up over $100m venture unit". Space Daily. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f McAvoy, Taylor; Contributor (July 26, 2018). "Thai Startup First in Asia to Launch Payload Aboard US Rocket". Khaosod English. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "สตาร์ทอัพไทยบรรลุข้อตกลงปล่อยดาวเทียมกับบลู ออริจิน" [Thai startup has reached an agreement to launch satellite with Blue Origin]. BBC Thailand (in Thai). March 13, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Yenbamroong, Kris; Snyder, Garrett (October 3, 2017). Night + Market: Delicious Thai Food to Facilitate Drinking and Fun-Having Amongst Friends. Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale. ISBN 9780451497888. James and Kris Yenbamroong are direct cousins. In the book, Kris mentioned that Vilas Yenbamroong, James' father, is his uncle.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Areepermporn, Panachai (February 5, 2018). "mu Space สตาร์ทอัพดาวเทียมไทยเจ้าแรกที่จับมือกับ Amazon หวังพาคนทัวร์อวกาศ" [mu Space, the first Thai satellite start-up partner of Amazon]. The Standard (in Thai). Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  7. ^ Leesa-Nguansuk, Suchit (September 24, 2018). "Mu Space sticks to IoT support plans". Bangkok Post. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  8. ^ "mu Space unveils its futuristic and sleek spacesuit". PattayaOne. September 21, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Sheldon, John (October 10, 2018). "Thai Space Entrepreneur James Yenbamroong To Launch $100 Million SE Asia New Space Fund". SpaceWatch.Global. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  10. ^ Sheldon, John (December 9, 2018). "#SpaceWatchGL Op'Ed: Why We Should Continue To Invest In Space Exploration". SpaceWatch.Global. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  11. ^ "L.A.'s Kris Yenbamroong Is Bored of Over-the-Top Food". Food & Wine. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d e "ก้าวไปด้วยพลังฝัน ! "เจมส์ วรายุทธ" ซีอีโอ mu Space ภารกิจโลกอนาคต "ดาวเทียม-เที่ยวอวกาศ"" [Move forward with dreams! mu Space CEO James Yenbamroong's future mission, "Satellite-Space"]. Prachachat (in Thai). April 5, 2018. Retrieved March 21, 2019.
  13. ^ ptctv (February 2, 2019), PTC'19: Center Stage Sessions - Air, Land, Sea, and Space: Moving Beyond the Contemporary, retrieved March 22, 2019, In the interview, James mentioned he was selling video games when he was young.
  14. ^ Adolph, John (Winter 2006). "The Recent Boom in Private Space Development and the Necessity of an International Framework Embracing Private Property Rights to Encourage Investment". The International Lawyer. 40: 25.
  15. ^ a b Goh, Deyana (October 9, 2017). "Interview: mu Space Corp". SpaceTech Asia. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  16. ^ "Mu Space joins Qualcomm Smart Cities Accelerator Programme". www.telecompaper.com. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  17. ^ "Thai space technology startup mu Space to raise more than US$9.2 million in 2018 - Reuters". www.reuters.com. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  18. ^ a b "Mu space becomes first Thai startup to acquire satellite license". The Myanmar Times. December 15, 2017. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  19. ^ Bannerman, Natalie (March 13, 2018). "mu Space, SES and Hughes to provide broadband access to rural Thailand". Capacity Media. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  20. ^ "Thai startup mu Space seeks builder for satellite bound for leased orbit". SpaceNews.com. June 27, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  21. ^ "mu Space secures satellite spectrum rights over 6 ASEAN countries". Startup Thailand. July 1, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  22. ^ "Blue Origin successfully tests escape system in latest New Shepard launch". SpaceNews.com. July 18, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  23. ^ "Thailand News: mu Space bids for NASA space project". news.thaivisa.com. Retrieved April 25, 2019.
  24. ^ Yongjiranon, Chaowarat (October 9, 2018). "mu Space Corp founder to launch US$100 million venture unit". Techsauce. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  25. ^ "mu Space Founder & CEO to set up US$100m venture unit". SpaceTech Asia. October 9, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  26. ^ "Startup mu Space Aids In Thai Cave Rescue That Brought Trapped Football Team Out Safely". Jumpstart Magazine. July 12, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  27. ^ "Asia's Trailblazer to Outer Space". Hive Life Magazine. September 18, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  28. ^ a b Jordan, Dearbail (July 6, 2018). "Elon Musk offers to help Thai cave rescue". Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  29. ^ "10 facts you may not know yet about Elon Musk". Startup Thailand. July 19, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  30. ^ "Elon Musk waded into Thai cave to drop off tiny rescue submarine, rescuers said no thanks". ABC News. July 10, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  31. ^ "The heroes who saved the Wild Boars". BBC. July 11, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2019.
  32. ^ Quality Persons of the Year 2018. Thailand: Foundation of Science and Technology Council of Thailand (FSTT). 2018. pp. 90–91. ISSN 2228-8236.
  33. ^ "19 บุคคลดังจากหลากหลายวงการ ที่คุณไม่รู้จักพวกเขาไม่ได้แล้ว" [19 Thais we are proud of]. GQ Thailand (in Thai). May 17, 2018. Retrieved March 26, 2019.

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