UT Dallas Magazine

Get to Know Jim Reilly BS’77, MS’87, PhD’95, Former NASA Astronaut

Jim Reilly BS’77, MS’87, PhD’95

Did you know that among UT Dallas’ 90,000 plus alumni is a former NASA astronaut?

Jim Reilly BS’77, MS’87, PhD’95, a mission specialist, spent a combined 853 hours in space, including five spacewalks lasting more than 31 hours during which he helped assemble the International Space Station.

He was selected for NASA’s astronaut program in 1994, and went on his first space mission in 1998, with additional trips in 2001 and 2007.

Reilly brought Comet pride to space.

Upon returning from his final mission, Reilly presented the University a framed collage commemorating the flight along with a UT Dallas flag that made the trip to space. Today that flag is displayed on the fourth floor of the Eugene McDermott Library.

Prior to becoming an astronaut, Reilly earned three degrees in geosciences from UTD and 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.

All in the family — Caitlin Reilly, Jim Reilly’s daughter, graduated from UTD with a bachelor’s degree in criminology in 2011. The Reillys are pictured with former UT Dallas President David Daniel.