Leonard David, Space.com (October 19, 2010)
"A private space company offering room on inflatable space habitats for research has found a robust international market, with eager clients signing up from space agencies, government departments and research groups.
"Space entrepreneur Robert Bigelow, chief of Bigelow Aerospace, has been busy marketing his private space modules, an outreach effort leading to six deals being signed with clients this year.
"The deals, in the form of memorandums of understanding, involve Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden, Australia and the United Kingdom.
" 'These are countries that do not want to be hostage to just what the International Space Station may or may not deliver,' Bigelow told SPACE.com in an exclusive interview. [Bigelow Aerospace plans private moon bases.]..."
The Lemming has been following Bigelow Aerospace for a couple years now. I think Robert Bigelow has the right idea, building a line of commercial space stations.
Back to that article.
"Robust and global
"A question that continues to float through the halls of NASA and the Congress: Is there a commercial market for utilizing space?
" 'We've got a very certain and loud answer to that. Not only is there a commercial market, but it's a one that's robust and global,' said Michael Gold, director of Washington, D.C., operations and business growth for Bigelow Aerospace...."
"...While countries in Asia and Europe take commercial advantage of space, 'my fear is that this could become yet another extremely lucrative economic opportunity that is engendered here ... and then shipped overseas,' Gold cautioned. 'The U.S. Congress should spend less time questioning the business case of the commercial market. They need to spend more time trying to figure out how to grow that market and ensure that it happens here in the United States.'..."
The Lemming thinks Mr. Bigelow is being rather charitable in his assessment of the U.S. Congress. Their greatest role in his enterprise might be to get out of the way, and let his company build space stations.
Before someone has a fit: This isn't an 'America first' thing. Yes, Bigelow Aerospace is based in the United States. B.A.'s clients, though, are all over the world. Or will be, provided that America's leaders don't 'protect' us from having a chance at one of the 21st century's major business opportunities.
Getting ThereThere are still pieces of 'business in space' to be put in place: like how to get there and back. Boeing's CST project is a hopeful start.
Bigelow Aerospace and Boeing may build space stations and the vehicles to take folks up and back. If they don't, the Lemming is pretty sure that someone else will. As I wrote before, "When it's Time to Build Spaceships, People Will Build Spaceships." (October 4, 2009)
- "Russia Will Have First* Commercial Space Station?"
(September 29, 2010)
- "Boeing CST-100 Spaceship: Passenger Service to ISS, Commercial Space Stations"
(July 21, 2010)
- "Last Space Shuttle Atlantis Launch: More of a Beginning, Than an End"
(May 14, 2010)
- "Bigelow Aerospace: Space to Rent or Lease, in Orbit"
(January 20, 2010)
- "Bigelow Aerospace Space Habitat Prototype Passes Milestone"
(May 12, 2008)