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Glen de Vries (1972–2021), businessman who went to space with Blue Origin

by Linnea Crowther

Glen de Vries was a businessman who recently went to space alongside William Shatner on Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin NS-18 mission.

Business career and space tourism

Trained as a molecular biologist, de Vries co-founded Medidata Solutions in 1999, a technology company whose software is used in clinical trials. The company was sold to Dassault Systémes in 2019 for $5.8 billion. De Vries also had his private pilot’s license and enjoyed ballroom dancing and running. As a space tourist flying with Blue Origin in October 2021, he worked to bring attention to environmental issues and clean water access. De Vries also advocated for space tourism being made accessible to more people.

De Vries on the view from space

“Imagine, this window is just pitch black. I mean just infinite black. You don’t really see the stars in space during the day because the sun is reflecting so brightly off the Earth. And touching infinity is Earth, which I oriented at the top of the window, and you could see this tiny blue line of atmosphere. You’re seeing Earth in indescribably vivid colors: blue, white, yellow, brown and green. There’s such a stark contrast between Earth and space and that line where we all live in between is frighteningly small.” —from a 2021 interview for his alma mater, Carnegie Mellon University

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Tributes to Glen de Vries

Full obituary: The New York Times

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