Reisman was born in Morristown, New Jersey and is a 1986 graduate of Parsippany High School, a 1991 graduate of the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology at the University of Pennsylvania, and received his Masters and Doctorate degrees in Mechanical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1992 and 1997, respectively.
In June 2003, Reisman served as an aquanaut during the NEEMO 5 mission aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory, living and working under water for fourteen days.
Reisman was assigned as a long duration crewmember on the International Space Station. He launched as Mission Specialist 5 aboard the STS-123 (Space Shuttle Endeavour) mission on March 11, 2008. After docking he took part in the first spacewalk of the mission. Reisman stayed on board as Flight Engineer 2 for part of Expedition 16 and part of Expedition 17. Having completed his mission, he returned to Earth as Mission Specialist 5 aboard STS-124 on June 14, 2008. During his time on board the ISS he had seen two visiting Space Shuttles and the installation of the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator (SPDM) and the pressurized section of the Japanese Experiment Module "Kibo".
Reisman was the first Jewish crew member on the International Space Station. He sent a greeting from space to the people of Israel during the celebration of Israel's 60th Independence Day in May 2008. He also did an entertaining, high definition video of "A day in the life of a space station crew member" while on board as well as demonstrating in the large, and at the time empty, Kibo section, that humans cannot "swim" in the microgravity of orbital space.
Reisman was a member of the STS-132 mission that traveled to the International Space Station aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis from May 14 to 26, 2010. He participated in two spacewalks during this mission.
On March 4, 2011, SpaceX announced that Reisman would be joining the company as a senior engineer working on astronaut safety and mission assurance. He is currently director of crew operations at SpaceX.
A self-proclaimed member of the "Colbert Universe", Reisman was interviewed live from space on the May 8, 2008 episode of The Colbert Report after being seen wearing a "WristStrong" bracelet. On July 24, 2008, after returning to Earth, Reisman appeared in person on The Colbert Report as that night's featured guest. Reisman presented Stephen Colbert with the WristStrong bracelet he had worn while in space. Reisman appeared on the final episode of The Colbert Report
Reisman filmed a cameo appearance as a Colonial Marine for the series finale episode of Battlestar Galactica. Space.com reported that his scene, in which "someone throws up on him and then he dies", might not be in the final edit of the episode which aired March 20, 2009.
In the podcast for the final (as aired) episode, producer Ron Moore confirmed that one of the people seen in the background of a scene where a Raptor arms its nuclear payload (shortly before being destroyed) was Reisman.
Reisman was a childhood classmate of actress Jane Krakowski. In May, 2010, Krakowski said on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno that she and Reisman exchanged e-mails while he was in space on Space Shuttle Atlantis. At the request of the crew, many of whom were 30 Rock fans, Krakowski provided an autographed script of the show which was brought into space.