Close Up: Space Investor
Name: Robert Bigelow
Occupation: Owner of Las Vegas-based Budget Suites of America Hotel Chain, and owner and president of Bigelow Aerospace, a general contractor providing design, engineering and assembly of space complexes.
Long Term Experiment: To invest $500 million over the next 15 years towards the development of a resort orbiting in space and a few lunar cruise ships.
On Opportunities: Bigelow cites the enormous potential of exotic biomedical and pharmaceutical material production in micro-gravity orbits. "If we can access those substances, we're talking about a second industrial revolution."
On The Next Frontier For Entrepreneurs: "Right now the aerospace industry is basically NASA, so NASA s holding all the cards. But it takes the private sector-free enterprise, capitalism and a marketplace-to drive costs down to the point that they're affordable."
On Bigelow's Mental State: Why would Bigelow take such an enormous investment risk? No, he's not "out there"- he has a vision: to invest in space access and pioneer a pathway for entrepreneurs in the outer regions. "We'll see an incomparable amount of new resources and [space-related] opportunities over a period of just a few decades."