Robert Bigelow and his space company worked with the Department of Defense to investigate UFOs, according to a story in The New York Times.
The Defense Department has never before acknowledged the existence of the program, which it says it shut down in 2012. But its backers say that, while the Pentagon ended funding for the effort at that time, the program remains in existence. For the past five years, they say, officials with the program have continued to investigate episodes brought to them by service members, while also carrying out their other Defense Department duties.
The shadowy program — parts of it remain classified — began in 2007, and initially it was largely funded at the request of Harry Reid, the Nevada Democrat who was the Senate majority leader at the time and who has long had an interest in space phenomena. Most of the money went to an aerospace research company run by a billionaire entrepreneur and longtime friend of Mr. Reid’s, Robert Bigelow, who is currently working with NASA to produce expandable craft for humans to use in space.
Working with Mr. Bigelow’s Las Vegas-based company, the program produced documents that describe sightings of aircraft that seemed to move at very high velocities with no visible signs of propulsion, or that hovered with no apparent means of lift.
Contracts obtained by The Times show a congressional appropriation of just under $22 million beginning in late 2008 through 2011. The money was used for management of the program, research and assessments of the threat posed by the objects.
The funding went to Mr. Bigelow’s company, Bigelow Aerospace, which hired subcontractors and solicited research for the program.
Under Mr. Bigelow’s direction, the company modified buildings in Las Vegas for the storage of metal alloys and other materials that Mr. Elizondo and program contractors said had been recovered from unidentified aerial phenomena. Researchers also studied people who said they had experienced physical effects from encounters with the objects and examined them for any physiological changes. In addition, researchers spoke to military service members who had reported sightings of strange aircraft.
WASHINGTON (Senate Science Committee PR) – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, will convene a hearing titled “Reopening the American Frontier: Reducing Regulatory Barriers and Expanding American Free Enterprise in Space” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 26, 2017.
This hearing will examine the Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act signed into law in November 2015, potential regulatory barriers to address in future legislation, and ways to expand commercial opportunities for American firms in space.
• Mr. Robert Bigelow, Founder, Bigelow Aerospace • Mr. Rob Myerson, President, Blue Origin • Mr. George Whitesides, CEO, Virgin Galactic • Mr. Andrew Rush, CEO, Made in Space
* Witness list subject to change
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 10:00 a.m. Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness
This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.
NASA has released a request for information (RFI) seeking ideas from industry about how to maximize commercial use of the International Space Station (ISS) that could lead to privately-built space modules being attached to the orbiting laboratory.
Bigelow Aerospace Founder and President Robert Bigelow and ULA CEO Tory Bruno to Address Media at 4 p.m. MT
What: Media are invited to participate in a news conference on Monday, April 11, at 4 p.m. MT, during which Bigelow Aerospace Founder and President Robert Bigelow and United Launch Alliance (ULA) CEO Tory Bruno will announce a new partnership.
Since 1999 Bigelow Aerospace’s mission has been to provide affordable destinations for national space agencies and corporate clients. In 2006 and 2007, the company launched orbiting prototypes Genesis I and Genesis II. Bigelow Aerospace seeks to assist human exploration and the discovery of beneficial resources, whether in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), on the moon, in deep space or on Mars.
ULA is the nation’s premier launch services company and is transforming the future of space launch through its innovative new rocket and technology, while significantly reduce the cost of launch services. This partnership will continue making space more accessible for the future.
Where: The news conference will take place at the 32nd Space Symposium, which is held at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Media currently registered for the Symposium are invited to attend in person. The press conference will be held on the second floor of the International Center in the Media Center.
In a Jan. 6 statement provided to SpaceNews, Bigelow Aerospace President Robert Bigelow said that the company determined that many areas of the company were “overstaffed” and decided to lay off employees to reduce the company’s expenses.
“In December of 2015, we analyzed the amount of staff that we employed throughout all of our departments at Bigelow Aerospace, and discovered that numerous departments were overstaffed,” Bigelow said in the statement. “Regrettably, we had to make the choice that, beginning with the New Year, we need to follow standard business protocols, which sensibly requires an attempt to achieve balance in how much staff is necessary.”
The company did not disclose how many people were laid off. Industry sources estimated that between 30 and 50 people lost their jobs, and that the company had more than 150 employees at the time of the layoffs.
The layoffs come after a hiring spree for the company. For much of 2015, Bigelow Aerospace advertised that it was seeking to fill more than 100 positions, both at its North Las Vegas, Nevada, headquarters and a new propulsion division the company opened in the fall in Huntsville, Alabama.
Bigelow’s BEAM module is set for launch later this year to be attached to the International Space Station. The experimental inflatable module will be tested on the orbiting laboratory.
NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. (Bigelow PR) — NASA has executed a contract with Bigelow Aerospace for the company to develop ambitious human spaceflight missions that leverage its innovative B330 space habitat. The contract was executed under the Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (“NextSTEP”) Broad Agency Announcement issued by NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems program.
Bigelow Aerospace had a media event in North Las Vegas, Nev., today to mark completion of work on its BEAM module, which will be launched to the International Space Station in September aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft. The module will be provide additional habitable space on the station as NASA tests how well the inflatable technology performs in space.
NASA and Bigelow Aerospace have scheduled a media availability next Thursday to mark the completion of all major milestones on the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM).
Reporters will have the opportunity to see and photograph the BEAM before it’s shipped to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for launch to the International Space Station later this year. Robert Bigelow, president and founder of Bigelow Aerospace, and William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, will conduct a joint question and answer session with media.
The demonstration of expandable space habitat technology supports NASA’s long-term exploration goals on its journey to Mars, for which the agency will need to develop a deep space habitat for human missions beyond Earth orbit.
The BEAM is scheduled to launch in the second half of this year aboard the eighth SpaceX cargo resupply mission to the station and be installed on the aft port of the station’s Tranquility node.
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Space News reports that Bigelow Aerospace has hired former NASA astronauts Kenneth Ham and George Zamka as the Nevada company ramps up hiring:
Zamka comes to Bigelow Aerospace from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation, where he was deputy associate administrator from March 2013, when he left NASA, through June 11. Zamka will remain in Washington to aid the company’s business development efforts with the U.S. and other governments, and serve as a company face for federal policymakers, Robert Bigelow, founder of Bigelow Aerospace, said in a July 9 phone interview.
All the promise, perils and contradictions of America’s human spaceflight effort were on display earlier this week in Washington, D.C.
Things were looking good for a day or so, but then the proverbial other shoe dropped to remind everyone of the deep trouble that lies ahead as NASA attempts to restore its human spaceflight capability and send astronauts beyond low Earth orbit.
As NASA struggles to execute a series of ambitious programs on increasingly tight budgets, the main beneficiary appears to be the bumbling, crisis prone Russian space agency Roscosmos, which has reaped a financial windfall as a result of America’s equally bumbling human spaceflight policy. And matters could get worse before they get better (for NASA, at least).
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.