Thursday, July 17, 2008

Space Conferences on Both Coasts

Space Elevator (Vista Edition?) Conference - Space Elevator Blog - This post is on the Space Elevator Conference, which has a lot of content related to the Space Elevator Games and people involved with the Games, as I described here. The conference starts Friday.

Meanwhile, the NewSpace 2008 Conference is already happening. I mentioned some of the prize-related speakers at that conference here. RLV News has numerous posts on the conference (here's a link to one to get you in the ballpark in case you're checking months from now), and the subject of prizes seems to come up again and again.

As often as I post about them, I tend to reserve a bit of skepticism about prizes compared to, say, regular business transactions when the goal is developing a commercial space industry. Certainly prizes can play a useful and important role in certain situations when managed correctly, but there are many, many situations where they aren't an appropriate solution. I think it's a reflection that space policy as currently implemented is broadly and clearly disfunctional when prizes come up so often in discussions about commercial space in general. It would be nice to see policy makers and NASA managers consider why prizes are mentioned so often in conferences like this one.