1. The FAA is asking for a budget for a prize fund for advances in "space access" associated with commercial space transportation. Prize funds make good sense when you have market failures associated with innovation. Joe Stiglitz has talked a lot about the economics behind them. Prize funds also played a role in American industrialization - they were very popular in a variety of industries in the early republic. This is classic American industrial policy.
2. Southwest Research Institute has announced contracts today to fly a payload of three scientists into sub-orbital space. Apparently this is the first time this sort of thing has been contracted out by a private firm. This is a very important development - the division of labor is limited by the extent of the market. Clearly we're seeing a growth in demand sufficient enough not just for NASA to contract out, but for private companies to as well. That means greater division of labor, greater specialization, and more innovation.
How Are These Times Different?
4 hours ago