Bigelow Boss Deletes his 1st Tweet — a Donald Trump Shoutout


Updated Jan. 12 at 6:50 a.m. Eastern

The founder of Bigelow Aerospace joined Twitter over the weekend and dived briefly into presidential politics.

“What this country needs is an inspirational space program. l’ll bet @realDonaldTrump could do it,” wrote Robert Bigelow in his first tweet, referring to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Bigelow first tweet Trump

Bigelow deleted the tweet several hours later, replacing it with a retweet from the official Bigelow Aerospace account of an illustration of one of the company’s proposed expandable habitat modules.

The tweet came after the official Bigelow account promoted Mr. Bigelow’s new account.

Two days after deleting his Trump tweet, Bigelow put it back up, along with some additional explanation of why he thinks Trump would be good for space.

Bigelow, like Trump, made his money in real estate. He founded the Budget Suites of America hotel chain in 1987. The chain has 18 extended-stay hotels in Arizona, Nevada and Texas.

More News

The head of Air Force Space Command is considered a leading candidate to be the next Air Force Chief of Staff. Gen. John Hyten is one of three generals widely believed to be front-runners to succeed Gen. Mark Welsh later this year. Hyten would be a “dramatically nontraditional” choice given his lack of piloting experience, but Secretary of Defense Ash Carter “has shown a propensity for choosing out of the box nominees” for leadership posts in the Army and Navy. [Defense News]

Russia is cutting its budget for ISS operations by about 10 percent. Russian media reported Monday that the new 10-year plan for Russia’s space program projects spending $3.43 billion on station operations over that period, $400 million less than an earlier draft of the plan developed last year. The report didn’t state how the cuts would affect Russian operations of its portion of the station. [TASS]

The Martian and its star won at the Golden Globes last night. The movie won best picture, and actor Matt Damon won best actor, in the awards by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Both wins were in the category of “best comedy or musical,” the category to which the producers submitted the film in order to avoid stronger competition in the best drama category. [Variety]

ESA member states don’t appear to be in a hurry to back a proposal by its leader for exploration of the Moon. ESA released a video last week describing how the next destination for human space exploration was the Moon, and ESA Director-General Johann-Dietrich Woerner has discussed leading development of an international “Moon Village” there. However, ESA’s members have not yet endorsed that vision, and the combination of competing priorities and limited budgets could work against adoption of any proposal at the next ministerial meeting in December. [SpaceNews]

The U.S. Air Force moved a step closer Friday to a competition for the next set of GPS 3 satellites. The Air Force issued a request for proposals Friday for study contracts to companies to demonstrate their ability to build the satellites. The first contracts, valued at up to $6 million each, will be awarded this spring. The competition for a fixed-price contract to build up to 22 GPS 3 satellites is expected in 2017 or 2018. [SpaceNews]

NASA has added two potentially habitable moons of Saturn to the list of potential New Frontiers destinations. The agency notified scientists this week that it would accept proposals for missions to what it called “Ocean Worlds,” defined as Titan and Enceladus, in the next competition for the New Frontiers medium-class planetary science mission. The moons join destinations ranging from the south pole of the moon to comets for the upcoming competition. NASA expects to release the formal announcement of opportunity for New Frontiers in early 2017. [SpaceNews]

Development of a non-toxic satellite thruster comes ahead of a potential European ban on the use of hydrazine. Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. said Friday it won a contract from the British government to develop a demonstration model of a non-toxic thruster that uses hydrogen peroxide fuel. That thruster could potentially replace current ones that use hydrazine, a toxic fuel that European regulators have considered banning. [SpaceNews]

This year will be a critical one for New Mexico’s Spaceport America, according to its director. Christine Anderson said in an interview that the spaceport is transitioning to support all of its activities under its operational budget, rather than funds set aside for construction. The spaceport will seek $2.8 million from the state this year to support those operations since revenue from customers, like Virgin Galactic, is not enough to cover the costs of running the spaceport. [Las Cruces (N.M.) Sun-News]

The company that operates the visitors center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has trademarked the name of a shuttle orbiter. Delaware North filed for a federal trademark for “Space Shuttle Atlantis,” the orbiter on display at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, in 2013, a filing that came to light only after a lawsuit on a unrelated dispute involving the company. Delaware North defended the trademark as “typical business practice” and said it would surrender them should it lose the contract to run the complex. [collectSPACE]

The Week Ahead



  • Washington: Aerojet Rocketdyne President and CEO Eileen Drake will be the speaker at a Washington Space Business Roundtable luncheon.
  • Washington: Jim Free, director of NASA’s Glenn Research Center, will speak at a Space Transportation Association luncheon.



  • Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.: Scheduled launch of a Falcon 9 v1.1 carrying the Jason-3 ocean observation satellite at 1:42 p.m. Eastern.