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A Blue Origin crew member, Glen M. de Vries, 49, of New York City, who recently joined William Shatner on his journey to space, died in a plane crash. Thomas P. Fischer, 54, of Hopatcong, was also killed in the crash, according to New Jersey State Police (NJSP).
The fatal incident unfolded just before 3 p.m. in Hampton Township in Sussex County. State police responded around 2:50 p.m. CST after reports that a small aircraft crashed with two fatalities at the scene. Only two people were on board, according to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The agency reported that the cause of the single-engine Cessna 172 plane crash in a heavily wooded area was unknown.
In October, De Vries was one of the four crew members aboard the New Shepard rocket for the NS-18 mission made possible by Jeff Bezos’ aerospace company Blue Origin.
Blue Origin tweeted: “We are devastated to hear of the sudden passing of Glen de Vries.” He was the life and energy of the Blue Origin team.
He was obsessed with aerospace aviation and read every book about spaceships, aircraft, and rockets before training in 2016 to pilot his single-engine plane.
De Vries started his private pilot training in 2016 with Fischer Aviation. He earned his degree in molecular biology and genetics from Carnegie Mellon University in 1994 and was the co-founder of Medidata Solutions, a tech company that develops software.
Blue Origin’s Next Flight
Blue Origin’s upcoming flight will take off from the Van Horn launch site on December 9.
Among those on the passenger list are Michael Strahan, a television personality and former New York Giants standout, and Laura Shepard Churchley, a daughter of Mercury astronaut and space pioneer Alan Shepard.
Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
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Featured and Top Image Courtesy of NASA Flight Opportunities’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of LunchboxLarry’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License