NASA, Bigelow to Discuss Private Sector Space Exploration Effort

Artist's conception of a Bigelow lunar habitat. (Credit: Bigelow Aerospace)
Artist’s conception of a Bigelow lunar habitat. (Credit: Bigelow Aerospace)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA and Bigelow Aerospace of Las Vegas are holding a media availability at 1:30 p.m. EDT, Thursday, May 23, to discuss the agency’s Space Act Agreement with the company for its insight on collaborating with commercial industry on exploration beyond Earth orbit. Journalists can participate in-person or by teleconference.

The media availability participants are:

  • William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator, human exploration and operations, NASA
  • Robert Bigelow, founder and president, Bigelow Aerospace

Under the agreement, Bigelow will work with a variety of commercial space companies to assess and develop options for innovative and dynamic private and public investments to create infrastructure to support domestic and international governmental exploration activities alongside revenue generating private sector enterprises. Bigelow will deliver its analysis by the end of this year.

The agreement includes a two-phased approach that will help NASA assess potential opportunities for collaboration. During the first phase, Bigelow will leverage its existing relationships with other private companies and its expertise from continuing operations in space to form common objectives between the private sector and NASA. In the second phase, Bigelow will create a series of options for public-private collaboration that lower costs and takes advantage of rapid implementation.

For more information on Bigelow Aerospace, visit:

For more information on NASA’s exploration goals, visit:

  • Lunar COTS sounds like it could be the answer for what they are looking for. Lunar COTS would fund various companies to design and develop in-space, reusable cis-lunar craft to transport equipment and later people from LEO to the lunar surface and back. The craft would also transport water for propellant from lunar operations back to LEO with NASA being the initial anchor tenant for that propellant.

    Other companies would be funded to develop and operate teleoperated lunar ice harvesting operations based upon Astrobotic (or other’s) ice prospecting missions.

    Although NASA wouldn’t be sending its own astronauts to set up these operations, as Bigelow, Shakleton, and others set up a permanently manned base to repair, maintain, and expand the lunar ice equipment, NASA astronauts could take the commercial transport to the base for science and surface experience in preparation for the eventual Mars mission. – Sign the petition – An example of the establishment of such a cis-lunar transportation system.

  • DaIllogicalVulkan

    Everyone reading this take the time to sign the petition! this small contribution will indeed push the greater human effort of expanding into the final frontier.