Peter Diamandis, Chairman and Founder of the X-Prize Foundation, won the inaugural Heinlein Prize for Accomplishments in Commercial Space Activities. The annual prize is a handsome $500,000 and was established by the estate of Robert and Virginia Heinlein. It is to be given to an individual or individuals for practical accomplishments in the field of commercial space activities.
Diamandis is worthy of the award. He founded and doggedly promoted the X-Prize, which was, if my experience in private space is any indication, a very challenging endeavor. He created a world-class organization of heavy hitters from nothing. The X-Prize has raised private space to the level of conversation among ordinary people and given the field a sense of momentum that I have not seen in the past. The X-Prize also has reignited the long American tradition of giving monetary prizes for achieving difficult things. This fact is very exciting to me.
There are at least a handful of people who are hardware builders of the caliber to win this prize in the coming years. To name a few: Elon Musk, Burt Rutan, Robert Bigelow, and John Carmack. The Heinlein Prize will no doubt be the premier prize for private space.
As an homage to Robert Heinlein, here is Amazon.com's list of Heinlein books on sale. I have read Starship Troopers and Stranger in a Strange land. I have some free time, so what other Heinlein books would you recommend?