LAS VEGAS –�”Having visitors coming to the moon, that would be the destination of all time. That would be really something. More than a few politicians and rich folks would want to do that,” said Robert Bigelow.
And the rest of us as well. The idea of a�resort on the surface of the moon isn’t farfetched at all, certainly not to Bob Bigelow. When he launched his private space program a decade ago, the assumption was that he wanted to duplicate the success of his earthly hotel chain out there, and while Bigelow is convinced tourism will help drive the commercialization of space, he never intended to run any hotels himself.
Bigelow Aerospace is more of a contractor. It will build and lease expandable space habitats as stand-alone modules in orbit, or craft combined into space stations — like Station Bravo, capable of housing a crew of 24, or as the backbone of permanent bases on the moon or Mars, serviced by stations orbiting above.
“There is no reason you could not have multiple bases,” he said.
Other private parties in the space race, like Richard Branson or Space One, have much higher profiles than Bigelow. But the Nevada company is much further along and has far bigger goals than quick, up and down jaunts into the wild blue.
The Bigelow modules represent a more permanent presence, though Bigelow says he and the other space entrepreneurs are all taking steps down the same road.
“The sub-orbital folks have a different mission, but it leads right into orbital activity. Sub-orbital is a good place for the FAA to supervise and get used to frequent flights and for the general public to have access to something that goes 2,500 miles per hour up to 1,000 kilometers. That’s pretty exciting,” he said.