Friday, May 16, 2008

NASA Authorization Act of 2008 - Innovation Prizes

Space Politics covers HR 6063, the NASA Authorization Act of 2008. Let the dissection of the bill begin! In my first skim through it, I saw quite a bit that would be interest to commercial space, Earth science, space science, and aeronautic advocates. Innovative-sounding provisions were also added to the NASA lunar plan. It didn't strike me as a "NASA business as usual" bill. There might be some sticker shock along the way, though.

NASA authorization bill introduced in House

NASA authorization bill text available

Here's the prize section (and for your reference, here's Section 314 that's mentioned). Although it would increase the potential size of NASA prizes, I didn't see any request for actual funding for prizes.


(a) In General- Prizes can play a useful role in encouraging innovation in the development of technologies and products that can assist NASA in its aeronautics and space activities, and the use of such prizes by NASA should be encouraged.

(b) Amendments- Section 314 of the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958 is amended--

(1) by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:

`(b) Topics- In selecting topics for prize competitions, the Administrator shall consult widely both within and outside the Federal Government, and may empanel advisory committees. The Administrator shall give consideration to prize goals such as the demonstration of the ability to provide energy to the lunar surface from space-based solar power systems, demonstration of innovative near-Earth object survey and deflection strategies, and innovative approaches to improving the safety and efficiency of aviation systems.'; and

(2) in subsection (i)(4) by striking `$10,000,000' and inserting `$50,000,000'.