Man who flew to the edge of space with William Shatner, dies in plane crash in New Jersey

Space Exploration

Space tourist being remembered for his love of aviation

Blue Origin

Blue Origin

HOUSTON (KIAH) The one-time space tourist Glen M. de Vries, 49, who traveled to space with William Shatner last month, was killed along with another person, when the small plane they were in crashed. According to New Jersey state police, it happened in a northern wooded area of the state.

The plane had left Essex County Airport in Caldwell on the edge of the New York City area, and was headed to Sussex Airport, in rural northwestern New Jersey, when the Federal Aviation Administration alerted public safety agencies to look for the missing plane around 3 p.m. Emergency crews found the wreckage in Hampton Township around 4 p.m., the FAA said.

Blue Origin/ AP

De Vries co-founded Medidata Solutions, a software company specializing in clinical research and technology, and was also the vice chair of life sciences and health care at Dassault Systemes, which acquired Medidata in 2019. He had taken part in an auction for a seat on the first flight of Jeff Bezos’ “Blue Origin” space craft. He later bought a seat on the second trip. De Vries, took that 10 minute flight to the edge of space on board Blue Origin’s New Shepard spacecraft with Shatner and two others. After that historic flight de Vries said as he got his astronaut wings… “It’s going to take me a while to be able to describe it. It was incredible”.

Blue Origin/ REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Upon the news of de Vries’ plane crash, Blue Origin tweeted , “We are devastated to hear of the sudden passing of Glen de Vries. He brought so much life and energy to the entire Blue Origin team and to his fellow crewmates. His passion for aviation, his charitable work, and his dedication to his craft will long be revered and admired.”

The second victim, Thomas P. Fischer, 54, of Hopatcong, was also on board the single-engine Cessna 172 that went down Thursday. Fischer owned the flight school Fischer Aviation and was its chief instructor, according to the company’s website. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating.

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