Glen de Vries, an entrepreneur and executive who was part of the second crew to visit space with Jeff Bezos’ space company, Blue Origin, died in a small-plane crash in New Jersey on Thursday. He was 49.
De Vries was killed, along with flight instructor Thomas Fischer, after a single-engine Cessna 172 went down near Kemah Lake, according to the New Jersey Herald.
“We are devastated to hear of the sudden passing of Glen de Vries,” Blue Origin said in a statement. “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 took the brief trip to space on Oct. 13 aboard a Blue Origin New Shepard rocket alongside famous sci-fi actor William Shatner, Planet Labs co-founder Chris Boshuizen and Audrey Powers, Blue Origin’s vice president of mission and flight operations.
“I’ve spent my entire career working to extend people’s lives. However, with limited materials and energy on Earth, extending our reach into space can help humanity continue to thrive,” de Vries said in a statement prior to the mission. De Vries’ career centered on developing software that assists in medical research.
“I had that heightened sense of time in my mind starting from the countdown,” de Vries said after his Blue Origin flight. “I think I’ve taken that perspective back down with me to our planet, and into my relationships. The passage of time, just like the resources on Earth, feels more precious with expanded perspective.”