Bigelow became rich with his own hotel chain and he has set up Bigelow Aerospace to develop inflatable space stations.
China has the motivation and ability to win the next space race and claim ownership of much of the moon. Bigelow argued that international law would allow a nation to make such a claim, especially if it were able to enforce it through continuous human lunar presence.
He advocated for putting 10 percent of the money the United States currently spends on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan toward space exploration with the goal of establishing a presence on Mars.
“America would experience a rebirth of vision, excitement, science and global prestige,” Bigelow said.
However, competition with China is not the only option, Bigelow said. If the Chinese would have us as collaborators in moon exploration, space cooperation with China would be a great idea. “A piece of something is better than a piece of nothing,” Bigelow said.
Bigelow Aerospace inflatable space station vision. Bigelow Aerospace has launched 1/3 scale versions.