One of the two people killed when a small plane crashed in Sussex County Thursday afternoon was on the flight to space with William Shatner.

State Police said Glen M. Devries, 49, of Manhattan, and Thomas P. Fischer, 54, of Hopatcong, died in the crash near Kemwah Lake in Hampton Township after the Cessna 172 went missing on a flight from Essex County Airport to Sussex County Airport.

Fischer, the owner and chief flight instructor of Fischer Aviation, was Devries' flight instructor. Devries began his lessons in 2016, according to a post on the Fischer Facebook page.

Devries was a member of the crew of the New Shepard, which carried Devries and Shatner into space along with Dr. Chris Boshuizen and Audrey Powers. The trip lasted 10 minutes and reached a speed of 2,235 mph.

"I thought that would be important to me before we went up, and having done it makes me feel twice as much conviction. Maybe a thousand times more conviction. That is something we need to make accessible, in an equitable way, to as many people on the planet as possible," Devries told CBS Pittsburgh.

He was a graduate of Carengie Mellon University.

William Shatner, center, describes his flight on the Blue Origin as Glen de Vries looks on (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Devries is the cofounder of Medidata Solutions, the world’s most-used clinical research platform and was the vice chairman of Life Sciences and Healthcare. Medidata was acquired by Dassault Systems.

"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," Dassault Systems said in a statement to CBS News. "We will truly miss Glen, but his dreams — which we share — live on: we will pursue progress in life sciences & healthcare as passionately as he did."

The FAA in its preliminary report described the crash as being an accident that happened under unknown circumstances but completely destroyed the plane.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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