Last month we brought you the news that William Shatner, the famous actor who plays Captain Kirk in the Star Trek franchise show and movies was launched into space aboard the New Origin spacecraft New Shepard. It was an exciting time filled with promises of space adventures that could involve civilians, not just astronauts.
This week, however, we received some deeply sad news. Glen de Vries, the man who flew with Shatner during the now-famous mission, was killed along with another man in a plane crash in New Jersey, According to AP. De Vries had bought a seat for the space flight and after its completion described it as “amazing”
His flight had won the famous astronaut wings.
De Vries was 49 at the time of the crash and companion Thomas P. Fischer was 54. They were flying a single-engine Cessna 172, but it has not yet been revealed who piloted the small plane.
Blue origin released the following statement on the incident via Twitter: “We are devastated to hear of the sudden death of Glen de Vries. He brought so much life and energy to the entire Blue Origin team and his crew colleagues. His passion for aviation, his philanthropy and his dedication to his craft will long be revered and admired. “
De Vries was active in many areas, although he was private pilot with instrument rating. He is a co-founder of Medidata Solutions, a software company specializing in clinical research. He was also Vice President of Life and Health Sciences at Dassault Systemes and serves on the board of Carnegie Mellon University. Fischer, meanwhile, owned a flight school called Fischer Aviation and served as its chief instructor.
Our condolences are to the families and friends of the pilots.