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Robert Bigelow, Founder and President of Bigelow Aerospace, will be the Honored Keynote Speaker at the ISDC Governors' Dinner and Gala to be held in the Davidson Center at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama on May 20. Mr. Bigelow founded Bigelow Aerospace, which is noted for developing and launching the first inflatable space habitats. At the Gala, Mr. Bigelow will also receive the National Space Society's Space Pioneer Award for Space Development for his efforts to advance the technology of space habitats and for the significance they may play in the development of space tourism, industry and exploration.
Bigelow Aerospace took over the Transhab space habitat development program after NASA scrapped it, and effectively reinvented it - developing and successfully launching its prototypes, Genesis I and II, in 2006 and 2007. Limitations on payload volume during launch are one of the major constraints of the NewSpace industry, and the Company's inflatable concept solves that problem for most in-space habitat applications. The lower launch volume and mass per volume of the inflatables, combined with now imminent launch cost reductions, should soon allow delivery of paying passengers to safe and functional orbiting destinations, such as the Bigelow station planned for operation by 2015.
The intended expansion of the space station market to private and international customers by Bigelow Aerospace has already had a transformative effect on how the future of space development is likely to unfold. In addition, inflatable modules will also serve their originally-intended purpose, as crew habitats for human operations beyond Low Earth Orbit.
ISDC Conference Chairman and Vice President of HAL5 Bart Leahy said, "Mr. Bigelow's selection as Keynote Speaker for the Gala ties in perfectly with this year's ISDC theme, ‘From the Ground Up'. Efficient, low-cost space habitation is crucial to almost all future human space travel and Bigelow Aerospace is currently the industry leader for that technology."
Prior to founding Bigelow Aerospace, Robert T. Bigelow was well-known for being a general contractor and developer in the Southwestern U.S. and for owning the Best Suites of America hotel chain. He has made a significant personal investment in the founding and on-going funding of the Company and is dedicated to "revolutionizing space commerce via the development of affordable, reliable, and robust expandable space habitats."
About National Space Society
NSS is an independent, educational, grassroots, non-profit organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. Founded when the National Space Institute and the L5 Society merged in 1987, NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen's voice on space. NSS has over 12,000 members and supporters, and over 50 chapters in the United States and around the world. The society publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space.
About the Huntsville Alabama Society L5 (HAL5):
A local chapter of the National Space Society (NSS), HAL5 has made significant contributions toward developing cheap access to space technology, space education, and public outreach since it was formed in 1983. HAL5 and NSS believe that by educating and working with the public, the government, and private industry, we can speed up the date when routine, safe, and affordable space travel is available to anyone who wants to go.
The International Space Development Conference is the annual conference of the National Space Society. ISDC 2011, hosted by the Huntsville, Alabama L5 Society (HAL5), will take place at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama, May 18-23, 2011.
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