We Lost an Astronaut Last Week: A Tribute to Glen De Vries

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The space community is still processing the loss of one of our newest astronauts, Glen de Vries. I have to admit that I am still absorbing what has happened.

As fate would have it, I interviewed Glen at 8 am on Friday, November 12 for the next edition of my book. It was at 3 pm that same day that his plane crashed, killing him and one other person.

Ironically, our interview began with comments on “Who is an astronaut?” I asserted that anyone who risked their lives by climbing on top of a rocket and blasting off was an astronaut in my mind. Glen noted that we do a lot of other things that are risky, like flying, and we do all we can to mitigate those risks. The same is true of spaceflight, he said, but noted that the risks were “not trivial.”

Glen’s enthusiasm in describing his experience with Blue Origin was infectious and it was inspiring to hear him talk about achieving his lifelong dream. He was also eager to add to my knowledge base about the Overview Effect, a term he consistently used. It was clear to me that he was not going to keep this experience to himself, but would share it widely, for the good of the world.

I told Glen that I would send him a copy of the Overview Effect if he would provide me with a home address, and he was also kind enough to say that he would urge his fellow crewmates on New Shepard 17 to talk with me as well.

I did not know Glen well, but I was looking forward to knowing him better in the future. I can’t imagine what it is like for his family and loved ones to lose him so suddenly.

As I have said elsewhere, we are all “the new astronaut corps” now. And we lost a great member of our community last week.

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