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Jeff Bezos defends his billion-dollar space effort

John Travolta and Jeff Bezos
John Travolta and Jeff Bezos share the stage at the Living Legends of Aviation ceremony. (LLOA Photo)

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. — Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest person and the founder of Amazon as well as the Blue Origin space venture, defended his billion-dollar-a-year expense on space travel here in front of a receptive, star-studded crowd.

The occasion was the 16th annual Living Legends of Aviation awards ceremony, held on Jan. 18 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel with John Travolta as host and Harrison Ford as one of the celebrity presenters. The event, produced as a fundraiser for the Kiddie Hawk Air Academy, honors those who have made significant contributions to aviation.

Bezos got a triple dose of recognition, thanks to his induction into the Living Legends lineup plus his acceptance of the Kenn Ricci Lifetime Aviation Entrepreneur Award and a newly created honor called the Jeff Bezos Freedom’s Wings Award.

After receiving the Freedom’s Wings trophy from Airbus CEO Tom Enders, Bezos sat down for one of his traditional fireside chats. At one point, Bezos was asked why he should spend money on space exploration rather than on earthly issues that need fixing.

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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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