SEATTLE — Jeff Bezos, whose commercial space company Blue Origin recently completed another test flight of its New Shepard reusable suborbital vehicle, is the latest winner of the Heinlein Prize for commercial space achievements, previously won by an archrival.
The Heinlein Prize Trust announced June 21 that Bezos will be the third recipient of the prize, established in the name of the late science fiction author Robert A. Heinlein, for his efforts to develop suborbital and orbital launch vehicles to make space more accessible. The award will be formally announced at the NewSpace 2016 conference here.
“Under Jeff’s visionary leadership, Blue Origin has developed launch vehicles and a commercially-financed line of engines that pave the way to reusability in space transportation,” said Art Dula, trustee of the Heinlein Prize Trust, in a statement. “As a recipient of the Heinlein Prize, we recognize Jeff and the efforts of the Blue Origin team in its development of technologies that could revolutionize the industry and provide commercially-available launch capabilities to a variety of customers.”
Blue Origin is currently developing the New Shepard suborbital vehicle, which conducted its latest test flight June 19 from the company’s West Texas test site. That flight was the fourth consecutive flight of the same propulsion module, which makes a powered vertical landing and can be reused with only minor maintenance between flights. The company has indicated the vehicle could enter commercial service, carrying people and experiments, as soon as 2018.
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