Robert Bigelow

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This article is about the hotel and aerospace entrepreneur. For the basketball player, see Bob Bigelow.
Robert Bigelow
Robert Bigelow.jpg
Born Robert T. Bigelow
1945 (age 68–69)
Nationality American
Occupation Entrepreneur

Robert T. Bigelow (born 1945) is an American hotel and aerospace entrepreneur. He owns the hotel chain Budget Suites of America and is the founder of Bigelow Aerospace.[1][2] [3]


Bigelow grew up in Las Vegas, attended Highland Elementary School, and was first exposed to science through witnessing—from a distance—a number of the atomic tests conducted about 70 miles northwest of the city. Bigelow recounts that at age 12 he "decided that his future lay in space travel, despite his limitations [in mathematics, and] he resolved to choose a career that would make him rich enough that, one day, he could hire the scientific expertise required to launch his own space program. Until then, he would tell no one—not even his wife—about his ultimate goal."[4]

He entered the University of Nevada, Reno in 1962 to study banking and real estate, and he graduated from Arizona State University in 1967.[4]

As of 1965, Bigelow was married and had one child.[4][dated info]


After many years from the late 1960s[4] through the 1990s developing commercial real estate hotels, motels and apartments,[5] Bigelow founded Bigelow Aerospace in 1999[6]

In his real estate career, Bigelow built approximately 15,000 units, and purchased another 8,000. For most of his career, "he held on to almost everything he bought, but ... eventually unload[ed] much of his housing stock in the boom years immediately before the 2008 crash." In 2013, Bigelow reflected on this: "People just really wanted to throw money away, ... So that was lucky."[4]

Bigelow Aerospace has launched two experimental space modules, Genesis I and Genesis II, and has plans for full-scale manned space habitats to be used as orbital hotels, research labs and factories.[7] Bigelow is currently building the BEAM module for launch to the International Space Station,[5] with launch planned for 2015 on the eighth SpaceX cargo resupply mission.[8]

In 2013, Bigelow indicated that the reason he went into the commercial real estate business was to obtain the requisite resources to be able to fund a team developing space destinations.[5]


  1. ^ Los Angeles Times
  2. ^ Money Backing the Private Space Industry... Part 3--Robert Bigelow, February 11, 2007, The Space Monitor.
  3. ^ "Cosmic Landlord". Forbes. Retrieved October 22, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Higginbotham, Adam (2013-05-02). "Robert Bigelow Plans a Real Estate Empire in Space". Business Week. Retrieved 2013-05-10. 
  5. ^ a b c Robison, Jennifer (2013-03-10). "Nevadan at Work: To the moon and beyond for Las Vegas developer". Las Vegas Review-Journal. Retrieved 2014-06-16. "Question: Why did you go into real estate and hotel development first? Answer: No bucks, no "Buck Rogers." You could take the path of science and work your way theoretically into that world as an individual, but I had fantasies of having the financial capacity to hire a group to make something happen. ... [Space] transportation is not what we (at Bigelow [Aerospace]) do. We focus on the destination." 
  6. ^ Sigurd De Keyser (June 4, 2006). "Bigelow Aerospace; Russian Dnepr rocket to launch a 1/3-scale Genesis model". SpaceFellowship News. Retrieved March 4, 2010. 
  7. ^ Malik, Tariq; Leonard David (2007-06-28). "Bigelow's Second Orbital Module Launches Into Space". Retrieved 2009-12-26. 
  8. ^ "NASA to Test Bigelow Expandable Module on Space Station". NASA. 2013-01-16. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 

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