Brian Kelly

Brian K. (“BK”) Kelly

Biographical data

Co-Founder & Treasurer
Limitless Space Institute
16441 Space Center Blvd. D-200
Houston, Texas 77058

Retired & founding Director, Flight Operations NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.

Born on November 21, 1959, in Wheeler, Oregon. Married to the former Cheryl A. Pitts, Mr. Kelly has two children and seven grandchildren.


B. S. Engineering
University of Portland

M.S. Space Operations
Air Force Institute of Technology

Senior Executive Fellow
Harvard Kennedy School

Mr. Kelly is President & co-founder of Limitless Space Institute. Limitless Space Institute is a non-profit entity whose mission is to inspire and educate the next generation to travel beyond our solar system and to research and develop enabling technologies.

NASA Experience

Mr. Kelly retired from NASA in February 2019 after a career of over 37 years. As Director, Flight Operations at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) he directed a diverse civil service, military, and contractor workforce of over 2400 employees and a total annual budget of $500m. He was responsible for selecting and assigning NASA astronauts and planning, training, and flying human spaceflight and aviation missions. He directed the Astronaut Office, Mission Control, Aircraft Operations and Aviation Safety at NASA JSC. Over his career he supported 110 shuttle missions, 58 International Space Station Expeditions, 40 shuttle launches, and 35 Soyuz Launches as well as return to flight efforts following the Challenger and Columbia accidents. He selected 12 new astronaut candidates from over 18,000 applicants and selected the first female Chief Flight Director and 11 new Flight Directors for Mission Control Operations. While Director of Flight Operations he was responsible for 35 EVAs (space walks), 15 International Space Station Expeditions, over 2.5 million mission control commands to the International Space Station, and the assignment of 33 astronauts to Expedition and Commercial Crew Flight Test missions. He directed over 13,000 flight hours composed of 18,000 sorties in 32 different aircraft. He personally has flown over 250 flight hours in T-38N super-sonic jet training aircraft and over 63,000 feet in WB-57 high altitude research aircraft.


Throughout his distinguished career, Mr. Kelly has been the recipient of many prestigious honors including the NASA Superior Accomplishment Award, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, the NASA Silver Snoopy Award, as well as numerous group achievement and individual performance awards. He also received the Senior Executive Service Presidential Rank Award.

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. These cookies are strictly necessary for the website’s performance.