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Meet Astronaut JR Reilly

Oct 03, 2017 - Oct 05, 2017 Kennedy Space Center

NASA selects astronauts from a diverse pool of applicants with a wide variety of backgrounds from scientists to pilots. From the thousands of applications received, only a few are chosen to be a member of the elite NASA Astronaut Corps. Each day at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, visitors get the rare opportunity to meet veteran NASA astronauts.

Included with daily admission, the daily Astronaut Encounter briefings allow time for discussion, so bring your questions and your camera. Visitors also have the opportunity to get an astronaut’s autograph at The Space Shop at the Visitor Complex at various times during the day. See the Daily Schedule for times when you arrive.

With additional purchase, visitors can enjoy a n exclusive group presentation with a veteran astronaut that includes a question and answer session during Lunch With An Astronaut offered at noon daily.


Astronaut Bio Jim Reilly has always been an explorer even before he ventured into the depths of space on three shuttle missions. He has a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Geosciences from the University of Texas-Dallas. While completing his graduate degree, Reilly was selected as a research scientist in 1977, for a scientific expedition to Marie Byrd Land, West Antarctica where they studied stable isotope geochronology. In 1980, Reilly began a 14-year tenure as an oil and gas exploration geologist for Enserch Exploration Inc. He was eventually promoted to chief geologist of the Offshore Region, becoming involved in deep water engineering projects and biological research. For 22 days Reilly was in deep submergence vehicles operated by Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution and the U.S. Navy.

Exploring the bottom of the ocean wasn’t Reilly’s last adventure. NASA selected him to be an astronaut candidate in December 1994. He began serving as the Astronaut Office lead on shuttle training. Reilly flew on STS-117 Atlantis June 8, 2007, as a mission specialist. On this mission, the crew performed repairs on the International Space Station requiring five astronauts to conduct spacewalks of which Reilly completed two. He has accomplished five spacewalks during his three mission career as an astronaut.

Reilly retired from NASA in May 2008 and is currently the curriculum developer at Delta Solutions and Strategies in Colorado Springs, Colo. He also works as Associate Vice President, Dean of Science and Technology Development at the American Public University System. He has received several awards throughout the years including the Antarctic Service Medal in 1978 and the Seventh Honorary U.S. Marshal in 2001. Besides working, Reilly nourishes a few hobbies such as photography or fishing. He’s also a big soccer fan!

Astronaut JR Reilly

Meet Astronaut JR Reilly

Missions STS-89 Endeavour

STS-104 Atlantis

STS-117 Atlantis