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Bezos receives Heinlein Prize for Blue Origin progress

Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos on Wednesday evening accepted the Heinlein Prize for Accomplishments in Commercial Space Activities during a gala at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

Better known as the founder of and one of the world’s wealthiest people, Bezos donated his $250,000 prize to the nonprofit Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, for which he served as a chapter president while at Princeton University.

Seattle-based Blue Origin next month plans a fifth unmanned test flight of its suborbital, reusable New Shepard vehicle in West Texas, after four successful launches and landings. The test will demonstrate the crew capsule’s ability to abort from the booster during flight.

The company last week unveiled New Glenn, a pair of giant, partially reusable orbital rockets now in development that Blue Origin will build on Merritt Island and launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The BE-4 engine that Blue Origin is developing for New Glenn could also power United Launch Alliance's Vulcan rocket. The Heinlein Prize was established through the estate of science fiction author Robert Heinlein, whose titles include "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" and "Stranger in a Strange Land."

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