His final words spoke of the future of commercialized space tourism. Even more fitting, they were directed towards Jeff Bezos, Founder of Blue Origin, to congratulate him on winning the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award.
Here’s the full text of Glenn’s letter, as published by Smithsonian.com:
Mr. Jeff Bezos
Founder and Manufacturer
I’m really thrilled to congratulate you on winning the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award for your historic achievement in rocketry with Blue Origin.
When I first orbited the earth, in 1962, you were still two years from being born. And when I returned to space, in 1998, Blue Origin was still two years in the future. But you were already driven by a vision of space travel accessible not only to highly trained pilots and engineers and scientists, but to all of us. And you understood that to realize that vision, we would have to be able to get to space more often and more inexpensively. So you and your Blue Origin team began designing rockets that can be reused over and over again.
I’m deeply touched that you’ve named the second generation of those rockets – the first reusable rocket to orbit the Earth – the New Glenn. As the original Glenn, I can tell you I see the day coming when people will board spacecraft the same way millions of us now board jetliners. When that happens, it will be largely because of your epic achievements this year.
Again, my congratulations and best regards.
Rest in peace, John Glenn.