For whose who missed the discussion about this hearing last week, the House Science Committee’s space subcommittee is holding a hearing Thursday morning about the role prizes and competition can play in space exploration. The lineup of witnesses is slightly different than what was reported last week, with Robert Walker and Douglas Holtz-Eakin (director of the Congressional Budget Office) added to the panel, with Craig Steidle as the only NASA representative.
During yesterday’s AIAA Commercial Space Roundtable, the prize concept was a popular topic of discussion. Most of the participants were in favor of increased use of prizes (and “prize-like” contracts that pay only on delivery). There was also some discussion of offering tax incentives for people who contribute to private prize efforts as well as creating an external foundation of some kind that would oversee prize efforts, both as ways to get around potential issues with direct government prize awards. Congressman Rohrabacher, chairman of the space subcommittee, was in attendance during for the full duration of the roundtable, and showed a particular interest in prize issues.