Alumnus Confirmed as USGS Director
small>James Reilly BS’77, MS’87, PhD’95 introduces fellow former astronaut Mae Jemison during a 2014 lecture at UT Dallas.
On April 9, the U.S. Senate confirmed James Reilly BS’77, MS’87, PhD’95 as director of the United States Geological Survey.
As head of the USGS, he will oversee the collecting, monitoring and analyzing of natural resource conditions, issues and problems.
Reilly worked as an oil and gas exploration geologist — he spent the equivalent of 22 days in deep-submergence vehicles conducting research and projects in the depths of the oceans — before he was selected for NASA’s astronaut program in 1994.
As a mission specialist, Reilly spent a combined 853 hours in space, including five spacewalks lasting more than 31 hours during which he helped assemble the International Space Station. His first space mission was in 1998, with additional trips in 2001 and 2007.
Reilly earned three degrees in geosciences from UT Dallas.
Astronaut James Reilly enters the Quest Airlock on the International Space Station at the conclusion of a 2007 mission. (Photo courtesy of NASA.)