|Born||Robert T. Bigelow
May 12, 1945
|Residence||Las Vegas, Nevada, United States|
Early life and education
Bigelow grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada, attended Highland Elementary School, and was first exposed to science through witnessing—from a distance—a number of the atomic tests conducted about 70 miles northwest of the city. Bigelow recounts that at age 12 he “decided that his future lay in space travel, despite his limitations [in mathematics, and] he resolved to choose a career that would make him rich enough that, one day, he could hire the scientific expertise required to launch his own space program. Until then, he would tell no one—not even his wife—about his ultimate goal”.
In his real estate career, Bigelow built approximately 15,000 units, and purchased another 8,000. For most of his career, “he held on to almost everything he bought, but … eventually unload[ed] much of his housing stock in the boom years immediately before the 2008 crash“. In 2013, Bigelow reflected on this: “People just really wanted to throw money away, … So that was lucky.”
In 1995, Bigelow founded the National Institute for Discovery Science to research and advance study of various fringe sciences and paranormal topics, most notably ufology. The organization researched cattle mutilation and black triangle reports, ultimately attributing the latter to the military. The institute was disbanded in 2004.
Bigelow Aerospace has launched two experimental space modules, Genesis I and Genesis II, and has plans for full-scale manned space habitats to be used as orbital hotels, research labs and factories.
Bigelow was interviewed on Coast to Coast AM in March 2013. In May 2017, Bigelow appeared on CBS‘ 60 Minutes and said he was “absolutely convinced” there have been extraterrestrial visitors to Earth.
In October 2017, Bigelow announced that he planned to put an inflatable “space hotel” into orbit by 2022. The plan is part of partnership with United Launch Alliance, and the project is estimated to cost $2.3bn in total.
Bigelow was reported by the New York Times in December, 2017 to have urged Senator Harry Reid to initiate what became the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program, a government study which reportedly operated from 2007 to 2012 tasked with the study of UFOs. According to the New York Times, Bigelow said he was “absolutely convinced” that aliens exist and that U.F.O.s have visited Earth.
- Pat (February 11, 2007). “Money Backing the Private Space Industry… Part 3–Robert Bigelow”. The Space Monitor (blog).
- Ewalt, David M. (June 8, 2011). “Cosmic Landlord”. Forbes.com. Forbes. Retrieved October 22, 2012.
- Higginbotham, Adam (May 2, 2013). “Robert Bigelow plans a real estate empire in space”. BusinessWeek. Retrieved May 10, 2013.
- Robison, Jennifer (March 10, 2013). “Nevadan at work: To the moon and beyond for Las Vegas developer”. Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved June 16,2014.
- De Keyser, Sigurd (June 4, 2006). “Bigelow Aerospace; Russian Dnepr rocket to launch a 1/3-scale Genesis model”. Space Fellowship News. International Space Fellowship. Retrieved March 4, 2010.
- Dorio, Mark (2005). Ufology: A Very Short Introduction. Victoria, British Columbia: Trafford. ISBN 1-4120-6473-2.
- David, Leonard (September 2, 2004). “Silent Running: ‘Black Triangle’ Sightings on the Rise”. Space.com. Retrieved June 30, 2007.
- Belfiore, Michael (2007). Rocketeers: how a visionary band of business leaders, engineers, and pilots is boldly privatizing space. New York: Smithsonian Books. ISBN 978-0-06-114903-0.
- Malik, Tariq; David, Leonard (June 28, 2007). “Bigelow’s second orbital module launches into space”. Space.com. Purch. Retrieved December 26, 2009.
- Northon, Karen, ed. (April 8, 2016). “NASA Cargo Headed to Space Station Includes Habitat Prototype, Medical Research”. NASA. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
- Speigel, Lee (May 30, 2017). “Aerospace Executive ‘Absolutely Convinced’ There Are Aliens On Earth”. Yahoo! News.
- Haslet, Emma (October 19, 2017). “Beware Vermicious Knids: A US billionaire wants to launch an inflatable space hotel into lunar orbit by 2022”. City AM.
- Cooper, Helene; Blumenthal, Ralph; Kean, Leslie (December 16, 2017). “Glowing Auras and ‘Black Money’: The Pentagon’s Mysterious U.F.O. Program”. New York Times.
- Bender, Bryan (December 16, 2017). “The Pentagon’s Secret Search for UFOs”. Politico.
- Sheaffer, Robert (July–August 2009). “Bigelow’s aerospace and saucer emporium”. Skeptical Inquirer. 33 (4).
- Kushner, David (January–February 2011). “Robert Bigelow aims high—a private fleet of space taxis”. Discover. Art. no. 73.