Congress denies Nasa privileges for bigger X-Prizes

Unfortunately, Congress is making it more difficult for corporations to participate in future X-Prize scenarios. The Commercial Space Launch Amendments Act of 2004, tightens the safety restrictions and is expected to pass through the Senate next week. NASA has been wanting to push contracts to contests similar to the X-Prize, where the money could be as large as 10-15 million. Unfortunately, they have no authority to do so and Congress is not about to give them any more. NASA’s current authority allows them to grant a measly $250,000. This is covered in Slashdot, and Spacedaily.

Personal note: I don’t get it. With the X-Prize, commercial entities basically proved that the government wastes almost 10x the amount of money to do the exact same thing. NASA even agrees, thereby wanting to push contracts off to such contests. So what’s the problem? I think this again amounts to Paul Graham’s manager concept. A manager that knows nothing about technology, often has a say in it. As everyone that is involved in technology knows, this is almost always the case. It’s too bad that people that are supposed to do their jobs (“manage”) don’t do that, nor do they do their homework on what they’re managing as to learn and not look like total idiots. Sorry NASA, your manager seems to be Congress.