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Big Bet Made on Space Commerce in Vegas

22 Jul 2009, 23:06 UTC
Big Bet Made on Space Commerce in Vegas
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"Sundancer Cluster" Source: Bigelow Aerospace

Bob Bigelow, a Las Vegas native originally portrayed by the media as someone who shuns interviews, has armed guards throughout his Bigelow Aerospace (BA) facilities, and wants the government to stay out of his business, now seems to have opened up a bit. He has done several interviews and presented his plans publically on how he intends to build and launch inflatable space habitats. His candor in suggesting that his chances of eventually making money in space remain about 50-50 and his humility in claiming that he hasn’t done much yet, is refreshing.
Bigelow is one of the genuine mavericks operating in the world of entrepreneurial space commerce. However, the fact that he knows how to run a profitable business provides him significant credibility. Bigelow’s initial claim to fame was development of the highly successful Budget Suites of America Hotel chain the profits from which in 1999 funded the launch and ongoing development of BA that will be up to the $500M level. This can seem like an odd shift in direction until you understand more of his story.
After first investing in other commercial space ventures that eventually looked weak from a business case ...

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