FOR RELEASE ON MAY 26, 2006
Inaugural $500,000 Heinlein
for Advances in Space Commercialization Honors
Dr. Peter H. Diamandis
HOUSTON, TX (May 25, 2006) - Trustees of the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein
Prize Trust announced today that the first-ever Heinlein Prize will go to
Dr. Peter H. Diamandis. The Heinlein Prize was founded to reward individuals
for making practical contributions to the commercialization of space. Dr.
Diamandis will be honored at a dinner and award ceremony on July 7, 2006 at
the St. Regis Hotel in Houston, Texas and receive $500,000, a gold Heinlein
Medallion, the Lady Vivamus Sword (as described in Heinlein’s book Glory
Road) and a Laureate’s Diploma.
“Dr. Diamandis’ accomplishments have started space settlement and commerce,”
explains Art Dula, Trustee and literary executor of the Heinlein Estate. “He
has catalyzed space activities by hundreds of people and organizations all
over the Earth who are creating a proud and prosperous future for humanity.”
Lady Vivamus Sword:
with Dum Vivimus, Vivamus, Latin for While we live, let us
Lady Vivamus from Albion Swords
...and found there the
blade that suited me the way Excalibur suited Arthur... the blade was
faintly curved and razor sharp on the edge... a point as deadly as a
rapier... The guard was a bell curved back around the knuckles into a
semi-basket... It was the sort of sword that feels as if it were an
extension of your body.
Robert A. Heinlein
Information on Peter H. Diamandis and the X
Diamandis is a pioneer and leader in the commercial space arena. In the past
25 years he started more than a dozen leading non-profit and for-profit
space organizations. Diamandis is best known as Founder and Chairman of the
X PRIZE Foundation, whose $10 million Ansari X PRIZE sparked the birth of
the personal spaceflight industry.
Robert Heinlein published over one hundred novels, short stories, and
articles. He won six Hugo awards and has had his work adapted into four
movies and five television series. The most prevalent theme underlying all
his works is the practical benefit of man's activities in space. The
majority of his works were published long before Neil Armstrong first set
foot upon the Moon, writing against prevailing opinions of the time that
declared such an endeavor as both impractical and impossible.
Many of those who grew up reading his stories are scattered throughout the
aerospace industry worldwide and have gone on to make significant progress
towards man's expansion into space. Many testify today that they were first
inspired by Robert Heinlein and his writings to pursue careers connected to
“There is no question that Heinlein’s work has inspired and driven me during
my career,” said Dr. Diamandis. “His novella, The Man who Sold the Moon, is
my favorite story. In fact, I flew it as personal cargo aboard SpaceShipOne
during the winning Ansari X PRIZE flight on October 4th, 2004.”
Diamandis’ contributions to the commercialization of space began while
studying molecular genetics as an undergraduate at MIT. In 1980 he founded
the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), which has
since become the largest student-based space organization in the world. He
went on to earn a Master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from MIT,
concurrently with a Medical Degree from Harvard.
Another major accomplishment was the founding of the International Space
University (ISU) in Strasbourg, France. Since 1987 the ISU has provided
graduate-level training to over 2,200 future leaders of the emerging global
space community from 87 countries. The ISU is the embodiment of Dr.
Diamandis’ vision of a peaceful, prosperous and boundless future through the
study, exploration and development of space for the benefit of all humanity.
“Initially I wanted to be a NASA Astronaut and that dream drove me to
collect numerous degrees, private pilot and scuba ratings,” said Diamandis.
“But along the way I committed myself to traveling to space privately. I
believe opening the space frontier is critical for the future of humanity,
and making space a viable commercial endeavor is paramount to opening this
frontier. My philosophy has been that the best way to predict the future is
to create it yourself.”
Other notable achievements by Dr. Diamandis:
2004 – Co-founded and currently serves as Chairman of Rocket Racing League –
Combining the excitement of Indy car racing with the challenge of Rocketry,
this league will have rocket planes race against each other on a 3D race
track in the sky. Races are scheduled to begin next year.
1997 – Co-founded Space Adventures Ltd –
Space Adventures is the leading
space tourism travel agency. Space Adventures is best known for arranging
the flight of Dennis Tito to the International Space Station in 2001, making
him the first space tourist.
1996 – Founded and currently serves as Chairman and CEO of the X PRIZE
Foundation - In addition to the successful Ansari X PRIZE, Diamandis is
leading the Foundation in its effort to create prizes in several other
industries including genomics, water treatment, education, as well as, the
1995 –Co-Founded and served as President of Angel Technologies Corporation
Angel Technologies Corporation is a commercial communications company
developing wireless broadband communications networks.
1993 – Chairman & CEO of Zero Gravity Corporation -
The only commercial
space company in the world offering FAA-certified weightless flights
utilizing a Boeing 727-200 aircraft. More than 200 people have experienced
weightlessness since flights began three years ago.
1991 – Founded and served as Director of Constellation Communications, Inc.
CCI is one of five low-Earth orbit applicants designing a low-Earth
orbit satellite constellation for voice telephony.
1989 – Founded and served as CEO of International MicroSpace, Inc. (IMI) – IMI was an entrepreneurial space technologies company focusing on the
provision of low-cost launch services (ORBEX™ launch vehicle program).
1987 – Founder & Managing Director & CEO of International Space University (ISU)
– ISU is the world's leading graduate program for multi-national and
multi-disciplinary study of space.
1985 – Co-founded the Space Generation Foundation – A non-profit
organization to create a sense of identity in all people born since the
advent of the Space Age on October 4, 1957. The Foundation supports numerous
educational and research projects.
1980 - Founded the Students for Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS)
– SEDS is currently the world's largest student based pro-space
For more information about the Heinlein Prize or the Heinlein Prize Award
Ceremony please visit www.heinleinprize.com
For more information about Dr. Peter H. Diamandis or to set up an interview,
please contact Ian Murphy at (310) 689-6397 or send an email to