Privately-funded ventures into space was the theme in many of The Master’s works, shich “The Man Who Sold the Moon,” “Destination: Moon” and others. And the Heinlein Prize was created to encourage private ventures into space. So it seems natural to give the very first prize to this man:
The trustees of the Robert A. and Virginia Heinlein Prize Trust have announced the first winner of the Heinlein Prize: Dr. Peter H. Diamandis. Dr. Diamandis will receive a $500,000 award, a gold Heinlein medallion and a replica of the Lady Vivamus sword (from Heinlein’s novel Glory Road) at a ceremony to be held in Houston, Texas on July 7, 2006.
Dr. Diamandis is a leader in the area of commercial space exploration. In the past twenty-five years he has started more than a dozen space organizations. In 1980, he founded the Students for the Exploration and Development in Space; it is now the largest student-based space organization in the world. The best-known of these is probably the X Prize Foundation; its $10 million Ansari X Prize helped to jumpstart the commercial spaceflight industry.
“There is no question that HeinleinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s work has inspired and driven me during my career. 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.Ã¢â‚¬? (The Heinlein Prize)