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Jeff Bezos donates Heinlein Prize, keeps sword

Dula, Bezos and Diamandis
Jeff Bezos (center) shows off a sword that serves as part of the Heinlein Prize, as XPRIZE co-founder Peter Diamandis (right) takes the selfie and Art Dula (left), trustee for the Heinlein Prize Trust, looks on. (Credit: Peter Diamandis via Twitter)

Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos received one of the spaceflight community’s richest honors, the Heinlein Prize, during a ceremony in the nation’s capital on Wednesday night. The prize includes a $250,000 cash award … and a sword that evokes one of Robert A. Heinlein’s sci-fi stories.

Bezos hung onto the sword, but he’s donating the $250,000 to an nonprofit group known as the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space.

The prize was handed out by representatives of the late science-fiction writer’s family trust to recognize Bezos’ work with Blue Origin, the space venture he founded. Past recipients include Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of SpaceX; and Peter Diamandis, who co-founded the XPRIZE program as well as Students for the Exploration and Development of Space.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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