Former Astronaut Nominated to Head USGS

Oklahomans have become all too familiar with the U.S. Geological Survey over the past five years, thanks to earthquakes. They soon might get to know the man who has been nominated to run the agency.

Now, President Trump has nominated former astronaut and Texas geologist James F. Reilly II to head the USGS, the science arm of the Interior Department.

Reilly spent 13 years as an astronaut for NASA and flew three spaceflight missions, carried out five spacewalks and logged more than 853 hours in space. He also helped assemble the International Space Station.

Reilly, now 63 once was an exploration geologist for Ensearch Exploration Company based in Dallas. He worked there after earning his doctorate in geoscience from the University of Texas in Dallas.

Reilly is currently a technical adviser in Colorado Springs on space operations at the U.S. Air Force National Security Space Institute.

Reilly’s nomination still has to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate and until then, William Werkheiser, a 32-year veteran of the USGS will continue as acting director.