Businessman who went to space with Shatner on Blue Origin dies in a plane crash

Glen de Vries onboard of Blue Origin Felix Kunze/Blue Origin



On Thursday, Glen de Vries, a businessman and medical research software expert, who flew to space in Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket with William Shatner and others died along with a flight instructor. He was flying in a small single engine plane with Thomas Fischer, of Fischer Aviation. The plane crashed around 3 p.m. in Sussex County in New Jersey.

According to the New Jersey Herald, around 3 p.m., the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) alerted police that the single-engine Cessna 172 plane went missing near Kemah Lake in New Jersey. Emergency responders found the wreckage before 4 p.m., “in a heavily wooded area” in Hampton, according to a report from Patch.

The FAA said that the crash had taken place “under unknown circumstances.” It also added that a preliminary report on the crash would be released in a few days. The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the crash.


As of now, it is not known whether the 49-year old businessman Glen de Vries or the the flight instructor 54-year old Thomas P. Fischer was piloting the plane. De Vries was an instrument-rated pilot while Fischer was the owner of a flight school—Fischer Aviation as well as its chief instructor.

De Vries who was a molecular biologist, co-founded Medidata Solutions. He studied at New York University and Carnegie Mellon University. According to a report by the Daily Mail, the company’s software has managed over 25,000 clinical trials. These trials involved data collected from over 700 million people. In 1999, Dassault Systems acquired Medidata for $5.8 billion.

Last month, the co-founder of Medidata Solutions had flown to space. He had been very excited about his trip to space and called it “a dream come true.” He was a part of the second crew who flew to space. He had paid to board the flight along with William Shatner, who reportedly flew free of charge, Australian entrepreneur Chris Boshuizen and Blue Origin executive Audrey Powers

Condolences have poured in from many including Blue Origin and Dassault Systems. 


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