National Space Society's Heinlein Award

Apollo 13 astronaut James Lovell, Jim Plaxco, and NSS Executive Director George Whitesides and the Heinlein Award
Apollo 13 astronaut James Lovell, Jim Plaxco, and NSS Executive Director George Whitesides and the Heinlein Award

I recently took the time to cast my ballot for whom I considered deserving of the Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award. This award is sponsored by the National Space Society and serves to honor those individuals who have made significant lifetime contributions to the creation of a free spacefaring civilization. The Award is in memory of science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein. In addition to his hard SF novels, Heinlein served as a Director of the L5 Society – which later merged with the National Space Institute to form the National Space Society. The 12th Heinlein Award will be presented at the National Space Society's 27th International Space Development Conference to be held in Washington, DC in May 2008.

If you take a look at the above picture, you will see me holding the Heinlein Award that was presented to Captain James Lovell of Apollo 13 fame in 2004 at a ceremony at the Illinois Institute of Technology. And yes, the award is in the form of a brass cannon. Why a cannon? In what I consider Heinlein's best novel – The Moon is a Harsh Mistress – the brass cannon was the symbol of the lunar revolution. In fact The Brass Cannon was the working title of the book until it was renamed The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. Quoting from the book: “When Luna adopts a flag, I would like it to be a cannon… It can fly in our hearts… a symbol for all fools so ridiculously impractical as to think they can fight city hall.”

In order to be eligible to receive the Heinlein Award, the person must either still be living or have passed away less than three years prior to the starting date of the ISDC at which the award is presented. Additionally, a person can receive the Heinlein Award only once. Previous Heinlein Award winners are Dr. Gerard K. O'Neill, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, Dr. Wernher von Braun, Gene Roddenberry, Dr. Robert H. Goddard, Dr. Buzz Aldrin, Dr. Carl Sagan, Neil Armstrong, Robert Zubrin, Capt. James Lovell, and Gen. Chuck Yeager.

In voting for the recipient, you get to vote for three candidates – first, second, and third choices. A list of the top vote getters from prior years is provided as an aid but space is provided for write-ins of your own. The list of previous non-winning top vote getters is:

Anousheh Ansari
Robert Bigelow
Ray Bradbury
Pres. George Bush
Maj. Gen. Michael Collins
Walter Cronkite
Dr. Peter Diamandis
Hugh Downs
Dr. Frank Drake
Freeman Dyson
Dr. Peter Glaser
Dr. Michael Griffin
Tom Hanks
Dr. Stephen Hawking
Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam
Peter Kokh
George Lucas
F. Storey Musgrave
Elon Musk
Frederick Ordway
Dr. Jerry Pournelle
Dr. Sally Ride
Burt Rutan
Dennis Tito
Dr. Pete Worden
Capt. John Young

Online voting for the Heinlein Award ends January 15, 2008. Voting is restricted to current members of the National Space Society so if you're not a member and want to be able to vote, you had better join.

| Return to the Blog Index | This entry was posted on Friday, January 11th, 2008 at 11:01 pm and is filed under National Space Society, Space Exploration.