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Putting up the Ritz

Can pneumatic buildings breathe life into space tourism?

12 min read

What happens when a Las Vegas real-estate tycoon who’s made a pile of money building hotels starts thinking big—really big? In the case of Robert T. Bigelow, he starts working out a way to build hotels in outer space. And he just might be smart enough, rich enough, and driven enough to pull it off.

Bigelow made his money in extended-stay hotels, banking, and real estate. In 1999 he founded Bigelow Aerospace, which he personally manages and which now has 125 people in Las Vegas, Houston, and Washington, D.C., to do the nuts-and-bolts engineering required to build the world’s first space hotel. Bigelow’s aim is not to operate his own space tourism business but rather to build habitable structures that others will lease or purchase for their own purposes, including research and manufacturing in addition to providing the ultimate getaway destination.

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Top Tech 2023: A Special Report

These two dozen technical projects should make significant advances in the coming year

2 min read
Top Tech 2023: A Special Report
Edmon DeHaro

Each January, the editors of IEEE Spectrum offer up some predictions about technical developments we expect to be in the news over the coming year. You’ll find a couple dozen of those described in the following special report. Of course, the number of things we could have written about is far higher, so we had to be selective in picking which projects to feature. And we’re not ashamed to admit, gee-whiz appeal often shaped our choices.

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