top of page


2016 Heinlein Prize

Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin, for his vision and leadership in commercial space activities that have led to historic firsts and reusability in the commercial spaceflight industry. 


Under Bezos’ leadership, Blue Origin developed a number of technology firsts that are driving U.S. space competitiveness. The reusable BE-3, a liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen engine, is now being used in Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft. New Shepard is the first rocket ever to fly above the Karman line into space and then land vertically upon the Earth. Furthermore, it has done so multiple times with the same rocket hardware – not even removing the engine between flights. In late 2014, Blue Origin reached a commercial agreement with a private launch company to develop the BE-4 engine which could be used to power the next generation of U.S. launch vehicles. 

“Under Jeff’s visionary leadership, Blue Origin has developed launch vehicles and a commercially-financed line of engines that pave the way to reusability in space transportation,” said Art Dula, Trustee of the Heinlein Prize Trust. “As a recipient of the Heinlein Prize, we recognize Jeff and the efforts of the Blue Origin team in its development of technologies that could revolutionize the industry and provide commercially-available launch capabilities to a variety of customers.”

2011 Heinlein Prize

Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, in recognition of his achievements in creating a business which successfully engages in commercial space ventures.


Elon Musk is a veteran of innovative business ventures, as described by the SpaceX website, “Elon Musk founded Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) in 2002, and serves as the company’s Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer. Prior to SpaceX, Mr. Musk co-founded PayPal, the world’s leading Internet payment system, and served as the company’s chairman and CEO. Before PayPal, Mr. Musk co-founded Zip2 Corp., a provider of Internet software to the media industry, and served as chairman, CEO and CTO. In addition to his current day-to-day role at SpaceX, Mr. Musk is also chairman and the primary investor in Tesla Motors and SolarCity, two companies intended to help address CO2 driven climate change. Describing the success of the business, Dula also said SpaceX,  “…now has three billion dollars or more booked of business on commercial contracts at pretty much fixed prices. And also, this company posts its prices on the Internet, just like any other commercial company.”

It was for those reasons, The Heinlein Prize was awarded to Elon Musk, with the hope he would inspire others to do the same.

2006 Heinlein Prize

Dr. Peter Diamandis, founder of Xprize, for substantial accomplishments in the area of private, commercial space activities. 


In the past 25 years, space commercialization pioneer Dr. Diamandis has started more than a dozen leading non-profit and for-profit space organizations. Dr. Diamandis is best known as Founder and Chairman oe the X PRIZE Foundation, whose sio-million Ansari X PRIZE sparked the birth of the personal

spaceflight industry.


Dr. 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 becoming the largest student-based space organization in the world, he went on to earn a Master's degreein Aerospace Engineering from MIT, concurrently with a

Medical Degree from Harvard University.


In 1987, he founded the International Space University (ISU) in Strasbourg, France. 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

bottom of page