Thursday, April 29, 2010

Peter Diamandis on the X-Prize and Private Spacecraft

Dr. Peter Diamandis is the Founder and Chairman of the X PRIZE Foundation, an educational non-profit prize institute whose mission is to create radical breakthroughs for the benefit of humanity. His foundation is best known for offering the $10 million Ansari X PRIZE for private-sector manned spaceflight, a prize that was won in October 2004 by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and famed aviation designer Burt Rutan with SpaceShipOne, the world's first non-government piloted spacecraft. More recently, Diamandis has created the Rocket Racing League. Diamandis is also the CEO and co-founder of Zero Gravity Corporation, which offers parabolic weightless flights to the general public. He is also the co-Founder and a Director of Space Adventures, Ltd the company that has flown eight private citizens on Soyuz to the International Space Station.

I had lunch with Dr. Diamandis in July/August 2003. I had just broken the World Record, the US Transcontinental Record and the Speed Over a Recognized Course flying from SNA to FFA in a Diamondstar DA-40 (Class C-1b, Group I) in 17hrs, 23min and 45sec. I was all over the news at that time. The VP of Marketing from Zero-G Corp arranged the lunch so that Peter and I could meet. He is truly a very inspiring individual and a pioneer and a visionary. Truly a GREAT person.

1 comment:

Amnon I. Govrin said...

Truly inspiring. Being risk averse happens on a much smaller scale as well - I had a boss at a previous job tell me after an hour-long personal presentation of an idea with a working prototype "Well, that's very nice, but I have 6 people that say it's good and 35 that say it's bad. Therefore it's bad.".

Guess what - that idea still lives in several products the company makes...

He's right - breakthroughs are at best sustained innovations if everyone accepts them from day one and the first PowerPoint slide.