John Glenn’s parting words to Jeff Bezos

Image: Jeff Bezos and Blue Origin
Jeff Bezos shows off the concept for Blue Origin’s launch system during a 2015 news conference in Florida. Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture is headquartered in Kent, Wash. (Blue Origin photo)

Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos accepted yet another award tonight for his Blue Originspace effort, but the prize he treasured the most is no doubt an accompanying letter from space hero John Glenn, who passed away 10 days after writing it.

The letter, dated Nov. 28, was made public as Bezos received a Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award tonight in Washington, D.C. The first African-American woman to fly in space, Mae Jemison, read Glenn’s tribute to Bezos at the ceremony – only hours after Glenn died in an Ohio hospital.

Blue Origin has successfully sent its New Shepard suborbital rocket ship to outer space and back five times, duplicating Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard’s ride. And it’s gearing up to build New Glenn rockets that will send spacecraft into orbit, just as Glenn went into orbit in 1962.

Glenn wrote that he was “deeply touched” to have a rocket named after him.

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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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