A Blue Origin Space Tourist Who Flew With William Shatner Has Died

He died in a plane crash in New Jersey.
Loukia Papadopoulos
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Last month we brought you news that William Shatner, the renowned actor who played Captain Kirk in the show and films of the "Star Trek" franchise had launched into space aboard Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft. It was an exciting time filled with promises about space adventures that could involve civilians not just astronauts.

This week, however, we got some deeply saddening news. Glen de Vries, the man who flew along with Shatner on the now-famous mission, was killed along with another person in a plane crash in New Jersey, according to AP. De Vries had bought a seat for the space flight and upon completing it had described it as "incredible"

The flight had earned him the famed astronaut wings.

De Vries was 49 years old at the time of the accident and fellow passenger Thomas P. Fischer was 54. They were flying in a single-engine Cessna 172 but it has not been revealed yet who was piloting the small plane.

Blue origin released the following statement on the incident through Twitter: "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."

De Vries was active in many fields despite being an instrument-rated private pilot. He co-founded Medidata Solutions, a software company specializing in clinical research. He was also the vice-chair of life sciences and health care at Dassault Systemes and served on the board of Carnegie Mellon University. Meanwhile, Fischer was the owner of a flight school called Fischer Aviation and served as its chief instructor.

Our condolences go out to the pilots' families and friends.

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