The Heinlein Prize Trust "Have Space Suit Will Travel" Program has gone above and beyond, educating and inspiring thousands of people about the wonders of space travel and the space suits that make it possible.
HPT Letter to Chairman Ted Cruz and Ranking Member Edward J. Markey
May 22, 2017
In a letter to Senators Cruz and Markey, The Heinlein Prize strongly recommends updating U.S. law rather than reopening the Outer Space Treaty, wherever possible, if adjustments are needed. Click here for full text of letter.
Jeff Bezos Named Heinlein Prize Recipient
June 21, 2016
The Heinlein Prize Trust announced today that it is awarding its prestigious Heinlein Prize to 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.
The Heinlein Prize honors the memory of Robert A. Heinlein®, a renowned American author. The purpose of the Heinlein Prize is to encourage and reward progress in commercial space activities that advances Robert and his wife Virginia’s dream of humanity’s future in space. In addition to the award, recipients receive a Lady Vivamus sword from Robert Heinlein’s novel, Glory Road.
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.”
“Robert Heinlein inspired millions with his visionary—and incredibly entertaining—stories, and it’s an honor for all of us at Blue Origin to receive this award,” said Jeff Bezos, founder of Blue Origin. “Heinlein foresaw a thriving future with humans throughout the solar system. We won’t stop working to make that vision come true.”
Bezos is the third recipient of the Heinlein Prize. The first award was to Dr. Peter Diamandisin 2006 for the Ansari XPRIZE and SpaceShipOne, the first manned commercial vehicle to fly to space. The second prize was awarded to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk in 2011 for the Falcon 1, the first privately-developed launch vehicle to orbit the Earth.
Announcement of the award was made today at the NewSpace conference in Seattle. This event attracts space industry leaders, startups, policymakers, the investment community and technology innovators. The Heinlein Prize is a sponsor of NewSpace, where it is exhibiting the Have Space Suit – Will Travel educational program that includes the spacesuit worn by former astronaut and current NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden.
The Heinlein Prize will be awarded to Bezos in a ceremony in Washington, DC on September 14, 2016. For more information, visit the Heinlein Prize website.
New Law Establishes Ownership Rights for Space Minerals
November 30, 2015
IAA Study Provides “How to Guide” on SMR; Outlines Economic, Societal Benefits
A new public law signed by President Obama sets the stage for continued expansion of the U.S. space program and transforms the mining of space mineral resources (SMR). The President signed into law last Wednesday the U.S. Commercial Space Launch Competitiveness Act (CSLCA) that recognizes the right of U.S. citizens to own space resources they obtain as property and encourages the commercial exploration and recovery of resources from asteroids and other bodies in space.
The new law resulted from legislation championed by an impressive group of bipartisan congressional leaders including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Representatives Lamar Smith (R-TX), Bill Posey (R-FL), and Derek Kilmer (D-WA), and Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Bill Nelson (D-FL).
“This new law has the potential to be a ‘game-changer’ especially for developing countries, and we applaud President Obama and the Congress for recognizing the benefits of mining space mineral resources,” said Art Dula, a Trustee of the Heinlein Prize Trust and an adjunct faculty member of the University of Houston Law Center where he teaches space law. “It also provides a much-needed regulatory framework to ensure the United States meets its obligations required by international accords including the Outer Space Treaty,” Dula said.
Mining space resources has the potential to provide materials for space sustainability. Mining water from asteroids, the Moon or Mars, for example, will help ensure that human exploration will expand beyond low Earth orbit. Water can be used as fuel and as radiation shielding, as well as for life support.
Dula and 15 other organizations and companies along with subject matter experts from around the globe recently authored a study for the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) that found that space mineral resources can benefit humanity and can level the playing field for developing countries, opening new opportunities for growth and exploration. The study, “Space Mineral Resources: A Global Assessment of the Challenges and Opportunities,” the most comprehensive to date, included a “how to guide” and examined the latest technologies, economics, law and policy related to space mineral resource opportunities. It included several recommendations to space agencies and an analysis of options to advance this exploration. Dula recently presented the study to the International Space Exploration Coordinating Group at the European Space Agency Center in Cologne, Germany. (click here to see presentation)
IAA, an independent nongovernmental organization recognized by the United Nations, fosters the development of astronautics for peaceful purposes, recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves in areas related to astronautics and provides a program through which the membership can contribute to international endeavors and cooperation in the advancement of aerospace activities.
“The IAA study is not about whether to leverage space mineral resources, but rather how best to leverage them,” according to Dula. “Improving the world we know today will be possible by leveraging the phenomenal resources available in our solar system,” he said.
This historic new law will create a pro-growth environment for the development of the commercial space industry by encouraging private sector investment and ensuring a more stable and predictable regulatory regime. “By recognizing asteroid mining rights, this new law will be integral to protecting and supporting U.S. interests as the commercial space sector continues to expand,” Dula concluded.
Editor’s Note: Media should contact Diane Smiroldo at firstname.lastname@example.org for a passcode for a complimentary copy of study.
HOUSTON, July 7, 2014 – The Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust (HPT) have created a new Heinlein award class for an individual or individuals that have developed space-tested technology used to benefit space commercial activities.
“As opposed to the Heinlein Prize, which is a substantial award given to individuals with proven and practical achievements in the field of commercial space, the new Heinlein Award recognizes smaller, but no less important technical accomplishments in space,” said HPT Trustee Arthur M. Dula. “And what better day to announce the new award than today on Robert Heinlein’s birthday.”
Winners of the Heinlein Award will receive a diploma and monetary award.
“By creating a new class of prize the Trust will incentivize the public to bring such technical accomplishments to the Trust’s attention in order to win the award,” explained Mr. James M. Vaughn, HPT Trustee.
For more information or to suggest a nomination for the Heinlein Award contact email@example.com or visit www.heinleinprize.com.
Technology and way forward assessed in revolutionary, new space elevator book
January 15, 2014
HOUSTON, – The foremost experts in the field unite to create SPACE ELEVATORS: An Assessment of the Technological Feasibility and the Way Forward now available at www.heinleinbooks.com and Amazon.com.
SPACE ELEVATORS addresses the simple and complex issues that have been identified through the development of space elevator concepts over the last decade. A space elevator is a system for lifting payloads, and eventually people, from the Earth’s surface into space, with tremendously kinder environmental effects. The value and benefit of developing a space elevator infrastructure is even greater than earlier estimates, as it will change our approach to operations in space. Low cost, safe, reliable and flexible delivery of payloads to Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) and beyond could create an “off-planet” environment filled with opportunities ranging from commercial space systems to exploration of the solar system.
The report begins with a summary of those ideas in Edwards’ and Westling’s book The Space Elevator (2003). Out of these beginnings has risen a worldwide cadre focused upon their areas of expertise as applied to space elevator development and operational infrastructure. The report answers some basic questions about the feasibility of a space elevator infrastructure:
Why a space elevator?
Can it be done?
How would all the elements fit together to create a
system of systems?
What are the technical feasibilities of each major
space elevator element?
This study was conducted under the auspices of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and benefited from review and comments by numerous members of the Academy, as well as the International Space Elevator Consortium.
Ebook: available at Amazon.com