Bigelow Aerospace is reportedly planning to offer $760 million to any company that can provide crew transportation services to and from its planned orbital habitats, New Scientist reported Thursday. The offer is not in the form of a prize, like Bigelow’s earlier effort, America’s Space Prize, but instead a contract that would pay $760 million for eight flights. The article doesn’t have much in the way of further details, including how Bigelow would select the winning provider (or providers), and there’s been no formal announcement of the effort by the company itself. However, Robert Bigelow has talked on a number of occasions about the difficulties in finding transportation for his planned habitats, a concern he reiterates in the New Scientist article.
Speaking of Bigelow, the current issue of Wired magazine has a feature article about Bigelow Aerospace (which I read on the flight to New Mexico earlier this week and subsequently found online). The article doesn’t have much in the way of new insights on the company or Bigelow himself, and focused a lot on things like his fascination with UFOs and company secrecy (nevermind that the company is a lot less secretive now than a few years ago.)