Deep pockets, dreams of space: Robert Bigelow is in a class of his own

Space Science
Robert Bigelow

MYSTERY WIRE — Robert Bigelow has probably spent more of his own money investigating UFOs than any other person on the planet.

The Bigelow dossier

The owner of Bigelow Aerospace and a pioneering figure in the scientific pursuit of answers to some of humanity’s biggest questions, Bigelow isn’t the type of person who seeks the spotlight.

The quest has taken him from building his fortune with the Budget Suites hotel chain to the brink of offering tourists the chance to vacation in space.

He has collaborated with NASA in designing expandable habitats that could revolutionize man’s presence in space. For awhile, he owned a famous property in Utah — Skinwalker Ranch — that mystifies scientists to this day. In a “60 Minutes” interview, he scoffed at speculation on alien life in the cosmos, pronouncing, “They’re already here.”

And maybe most important of all, he is the man behind BAASS — Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies — a lifeline to the study of UFOs in the form of a $10 million contract awarded by the US government in 2008. BAASS and Bigelow’s National Institute of Discovery Science were entrusted to important roles in studying the UFO phenomenon in ways that are still secret.

Did BAASS analyze pieces of crashed UFOs? It’s a possibility. And it may have happened just a few miles north of downtown Las Vegas.

The privatization of space travel has a few central figures, and Bigelow has been one of them.

Bigelow is a bit of an enigma — a millionaire who looks a little bit like Einstein. His interest in space doesn’t seem to jibe with his business resume. He’s a private person who has taken an enormous risk with his investments, and he has been forced to scale back during the COVID-19 pandemic, laying off workers at his North Las Vegas plant.

Videos

Below are six videos involving Bigelow, including an extended interview at the end. The videos will play one after the other.

Links to stories

Below are links to the biggest stories in recent years involving Bigelow, BAASS and Skinwalker Ranch:

Bigelow’s career

Reports indicate that Bigelow decided early in life to pursue a career in space travel, but his path wasn’t exactly a direct one.

He grew up in Las Vegas, and spent time at the University of Nevada, Reno, before getting a business degree at Arizona State. Commercial real estate provided a means to an end, and he continually expanded Budget Suites until selling most of his interests as prices peaked just before the Great Recession in 2008.

That’s about the time he won the $10 million contract for BAASS.

Along the way, he founded Bigelow Aerospace in 1999. His expandable Genesis modules, developed without government funding, caught NASA’s interest and eventually led to a BEAM module addition to the International Space Station in 2016.

Bigelow continued to develop the technology, and eventually expressed a goal of a “space hotel” by the year 2022 as privatization of space missions became a reality.

Timeline

See the timeline below for more on Bigelow’s accomplishments. This timeline will be updated to add past and present events.

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