SmithsonianMag has a piece on Robert Bigelow’s ambitious new spacecraft project.
Bigelow is a step ahead of much higher-profile space entrepreneurs, a step ahead of Elon Musk and SpaceX, of Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin, of Boeing and even a step ahead of NASA. He’s ready to create space destinations—laboratory? observatory? factory? transit hub? resort? What he lacks is a good way for people to get to those destinations. So he’s waiting. “I do have patience,” he says impatiently. “I can exercise substantial patience when I need to.”
There’s a lot of talk about how Musk or Bezos will soon revolutionize space, but two things are true: They’re just working on the transportation part, and their technology isn’t going to fundamentally change the way we go to space. It will just change who we pay for the ride, how much it costs, and—Bigelow is sure hoping—who can afford to go for a ride. Bigelow is a better bet to trigger a much more fundamental revolution—changing how we live and work in space, who can afford to set up an outpost, what there is room to do.
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