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Glen de Vries, who flew to space with William Shatner, dies in plane crash

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Glen de Vries, who flew to space with William Shatner, dies in plane crash
Glen de Vries, who died in a plane crash Thursday, posted a photo of himself on Twitter on Sunday. Photo by CaptainClinical/Twitter

Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Businessman Glen de Vries, who flew to space with William Shatner on a Blue Origin rocket in October, died in a plane crash Thursday in New Jersey, police said. He was 49.

New Jersey State Police confirmed that the crash in Hampton Township, 60 miles west of New York City, killed de Vries, of New York, and Thomas P. Fischer, 54, of Hopatcong, N.J.

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De Vries co-founded New York-based healthcare software company Medidata Solutions, which released a statement Friday concerning his death:

"Our thoughts and support go out to Glen's family. 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. We will truly miss Glen, but his dreams, which we share, live on."

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De Vries was a pilot who frequently posted about his flights on social media.

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In October, he flew to space in a New Shepard rocket from Texas with Shatner, businessman and former NASA engineer Chris Boshuizen and Blue Origin company executive Audrey Powers, vice president of mission and flight operations.

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"We are devastated to hear of the sudden passing of Glen de Vries," Blue Origin posted on Twitter. "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."

In an interview after the spaceflight with his alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University, de Vries said he had a lifelong interest in space and science. He said the event changed him, especially seeing the Earth from space, and he wanted to dedicate more time to promoting spaceflight for more people.

"There's such a stark contrast between Earth and space and that line where we all live in between is frighteningly small," he said. "If we really want Earth to be beautiful the way that we as humans can live on it and enjoy it, we need to start thinking about preserving the environment urgently.

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The FAA will be the lead investigating agency into the fatal crash, according to police.

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Out-of-this-world images from space

The International Space Station is pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during a flyaround of the orbiting lab that took place following its undocking from the Harmony module’s space-facing port on November 8. Photo courtesy of NASA

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