Reg was sent by the corporation to cover the first manned space launch in Moscow, right at the dawning of the space age.
He covered every manned American spaceflight from the Moon Landings through to the shuttle flights in the 1980s.
He famously broke the story to the world that the Apollo 13 was in trouble in 1970.
Reg's eldest son, Michael, confirmed the news that his father had passed away to BBC Radio Kent.
Michael, 72, said that his was father was "very committed" to his craft and was still writing stores on space up to eight weeks before his death.
Born during the First World War in 1915, Reg started his career at the Press Association at just 15 and remained with the news agency until joining the BBC in 1956 as an assistant industrial correspondent.
He moved over to the air and space team as a correspondent in 1958 and continued reporting for the BBC for over 50 years.
Despite officially retiring from the BBC in 1975, he continued to contribute to the corporation's space coverage, particularly on John Craven's Newsround.
Reg also regularly contributed to Astronomy Now and wrote a tribute to the late Neil Armstrong in the October 2012 issue.
Messages of condolence have been posted on Twitter to Reg, who died in the early hours of this morning (February 12) at the Pilgrim's Hospice in Ashford, Kent.
BBC Science correspondent Ben Amos tweeted: "Sad news reaching us today of the death of Reg Turnill, the BBC's legendary aerospace correspondent. RIP."
Science author and journalist David Whitehouse added: "So sad to hear that Reg Turnill, veteran BBC space correspondent, has died aged 97. A true expert and broadcaster."
Professor of Astronautics Chris Welch, of the International Space University, posted: "Just heard that the BBC's veteran air/space correspondent Reg Turnill has died. Sad news. Ave atque vale, Reg."