Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and the Blue Origin team has accepted one of the aerospace community’s most prestigious awards, the Robert J. Collier Trophy, for developing a reusable spaceship that could start taking on passengers as early as next year.
The National Aeronautic Association bestowed the honor upon Bezos’ Blue Origin venture back in March, but on Friday the team converged on The Ritz-Carlton, Pentagon City, in Virginia to pick up the trophy at the annual award dinner.
— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) June 19, 2017
The trophy recognizes the “greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America” during the previous year. Over the past year and a half, Blue Origin’s uncrewed New Shepard spaceship conducted five successful round trips to space and back, earning it a place among other pivotal moments in history such as the Wright brothers’ flights and the landing of the Curiosity rover.
The uncrewed flights are test runs for commercial passenger flights that could begin by the end of 2018, if Blue Origin sticks to Bezos’ hoped-for schedule.
This morning, Bezos reflected on the moment when he held the trophy up high, embraced by his wife, novelist MacKenzie Bezos, and surrounded by his team at an after party.
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) June 19, 2017
“Winning the Collier Trophy is incredibly emotional for me and the whole Blue Origin team,” Bezos said when the award was announced in March. “Everyone on the team has given so much to get to this point, and we are deeply encouraged by this recognition. We will never stop working to drive down the cost of getting to space.”
After accepting one of the highest aerospace honors, Bezos basked in a different kind of honor: being a dad on Father’s Day.
He shifted his focus from the New Shepard rocket to the newly released Lego NASA Apollo Saturn V rocket and tweeted a picture of his completed, 1,969-piece model.
— Jeff Bezos (@JeffBezos) June 18, 2017
Bezos wasn’t the only one to take a break from aerospace and take in the joys of fatherhood on Sunday. United Launch Alliance’s Tory Bruno commented “Me too,” in response to Bezos’ tweet about loving fatherhood.
SpaceX’s billionaire founder, Elon Musk, had some fun as well.
Musk tweeted a selfie wearing a Star Wars-themed shirt that read, “I Am Your Father.” Musk has five sons — twins and triplets.
He also showed off a Father’s Day present from his family — a brand-new iPhone case with his initials, complete with phone charm bling.