Monday, July 09, 2007

Heinlein Centennial Updates in Progress

I'll be posting as I get a chance over the next week on this past weekend's Heinlein Centennial. These posts will include talks by Brian Binnie (SpaceShip1 pilot) and Peter Diamandis. They will also include a talk on the Heinlein Prize Trust. There were a number of awards given at the conference, and I'll post about these, too. Most likely these posts will trickle in over the next few days, as they'll take a bit of time each to write.

Update July 9: I should give an overall review of the parts of the conference I attended that I won't post about in detail. I'll just provide details about the prize-related parts of the conference.

I saw a number of Science Fiction lectures during the conference. These details with subjects like Heinlein's books for youngsters, learning how to write like Heinlein, and whether or not we are living through what Heinlein called "The Crazy Years". A number of Heinlein scholars and science fiction authors like Spider Robinson were on the panels (typically these lectures were in panel format). These talks tended to get a bit off subject, but noone seemed to mind. I have to admit that I could hardly remember the plots of some of the books they brought up that I read a very long time ago. Left vs. Right politics came up again and again, but it seemed like everyone was in favor of commercial space approaches whenever (frequently) space became a topic.

On the space side of things, I saw a NASA lecture on the COTS program, an NSS lecture, and several panel lectures from space access entrepreneurs like XCOR, Rocketplane-Kistler, Masten Space Systems, TGV, and Space Adventures. These were mostly review, but there were a few debates about the role of NASA vs. private enterprise, the problems of the implementation of ITAR for the U.S. space industry, the problem with Ares I/Orion/Shuttle taking the funding from various peoples' favorite programs (oddly enough this was in the NASA and National Space Society lectures, not the entrepreneurs' lectures - lots of people were upset about science budgets and NAIC being cancelled), and so on. The COTS program was popular, and it sounds like people want similar approaches in other NASA programs.

I missed the Mike Griffin speach - I didn't get a program until that had already passed.

In the meantime, here are some other links on the Heinlein Centennial:

Heinleinorama at Transterrestrial Musings

Heinleinorama (Part Two) and a number of Heinlein Centennial links at Transterrestrial Musings

You Can't Oversell It about Brian Binnie's talk on suborbital flight (Transterrestrial Musings linking to Jeff Foust's article)

G-loading Comparisons at Personal Spaceflight about Benson Space's vehicle and Brian Binnie's discussion at the conference

An Experience that Sells Itself - The Space Review on a talk by Brian Binnie (I saw this one and I'll post more on it later if my notes add anything to Jeff's)

NASA Administrator Mike Griffin on funding advanced technology work at NASA during the conference - about the removal of NAIC from NASA - Space Politics

We Must Ride the Lightning - Dwayne Day on Heinlein and space at the Space Review (this phrase is used in the souvenir book from the conference, too, and I heard it several times at the conference)

John Scalzi blogs about the Centennial from the point of view of an SF author.

MSNBC's Cosmic Log has a number of summer reading suggestions, including some Heinlein books and a related TV program.

More later throughout the week as I get a chance (I have a lot of notes on the conference) ... check the "Heinlein Centennial" tag below ...

Update (July 15): RLV News links to a post on a talk by Pat Bahn (of TGV) during a NewSpace panel.