Entrepreneur Glen de Vries who travelled on Blue Origin’s second crewed spaceflight has died in a plane crash late last week.
On Thursday, 11 November, the 49-year-old was onboard a single-engine Cessna 172 aircraft as it crashed into a wooded area in Hampton Township, in Northern New Jersey, according to state police.
The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating the crash under “unknown circumstances in a heavily wooded area” around 40 miles northwest of New York City, with de Vries and 54-year-old Thomas Fischer onboard the aircraft.
The fatal accident comes only a month after de Vries travelled on the Blue Origin NS-18 spaceflight with Star Trek’s William Shatner on 13 October.
“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,” tweeted Blue Origin.
“His passion for aviation, his charitable work and his dedication to his craft will long be revered and admired.”
de Vries co-founded Medidata Solutions in 1999, which develops Software-as-a-Service for clinical trials and was the vice-chair of Life Sciences and Healthcare at Dassault Systèmes, which acquired Medidata in 2019.
“Our thoughts and support go out to Glen’s family,” said a spokesperson from Dassault Systèmes.
“Our deepest sympathy also goes out to our Medidata team, which Glen co-founded. His tireless energy, empathy and pioneering spirit left their mark on everyone who knew him.”
de Vries joined the Blue Origin spaceflight in October after spending years working on extending people’s lives and believed space could offer more materials and energy for humans to survive even longer.
“Playing a part in advancing the space industry and one day making those resources and that understanding available to everyone, is an incredible opportunity,” he said before the flight in a Blue Origin statement.
“I’ve been passionate about aviation and space for as long as I can remember, so this flight is truly a dream come true.”