Aerospace boss linked to NASA believes aliens live on Earth

An aerospace tycoon who is working with NASA on inflatable space structures believes there are aliens living on Earth.

Robert Bigelow made his fortune with Budget Suites - a chain of low-budget, long-stay apartments in Las Vegas. He has since started his company Bigelow Aerospace which is working with NASA on expandable spacecraft.

The 73-year-old made the comments during a 60 Minutes profile on him which aired in the US on Sunday (local time).

Asked by reporter Lara Logan whether he believed in aliens, Mr Bigelow's response was short and matter-of-fact: "I'm absolutely convinced. That's all there is to it."

She followed up with a question about whether UFOs had come to Earth.

"There has been and is an existing presence, an [extra-terrestrial] presence. And I spent millions and millions and millions - I probably spent more as an individual than anybody else in the United States has ever spent on this subject," he said.

Mr Bigelow went on to say aliens were living "right under people's noses".

His interest in space and aliens started decades ago when his grandparents had a close encounter with a UFO outside Las Vegas.

"It really sped up and came right into their face and filled up the entire windshield of the car. And it took off at a right angle and shot off into the distance," he recalled.

He's even had his own experience, but declined to go into detail.

And he doesn't care what other people think of his views, saying scepticism is "not going to change the reality of what I know".

The technology Mr Bigelow's company is working with differs from the rigid structures which are currently used in space.

One of the company's flagship products is called the Olympus, a spacecraft so big, the rocket needed to launch it into space is still years from production.

The inside is also customisable and can be turned into almost anything - from a space hotel to a hospital to a research lab.