Astronaut Biography: Daniel M. Tani
Veteran NASA astronaut Daniel Tani poses in a U.S. spacesuit for a preflight portrait.
Credit: NASA.

NAME: Daniel M. Tani
NASA Astronaut

PERSONAL DATA: Born February 1, 1961 in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania, but considers Lombard, Illinois, to be his hometown. Married to the former Jane Egan from Cork, Ireland. They have two children. He enjoys golf, flying, running, tennis, music, cooking. His mother, Rose Tani, resides in Lombard, Illinois. His father, Henry N. Tani, is deceased.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Glenbard East High School, Lombard, Illinois, in 1979; received a bachelor and a master of science degree in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1984 and 1988, respectively.

AWARDS: Honorary Doctorate of Science, Elmhurst College (IL) 2003. Recipient of the 2003 Excellence Award in Science and Technology from the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce. Recipient of the Japanese-American Citizen League's Nikkei of the Biennium for Science and Technology, 2002. NASA spaceflight medal, 2001. Orbital Sciences Corporation Outstanding Technical Achievement Award, 1993.

EXPERIENCE: After Tani received his bachelor's degree from MIT, he worked at Hughes Aircraft Corporation in El Segundo, California as a design engineer in the Space and Communications group. In 1986, he returned to MIT and received his master's degree in mechanical engineering in 1988, specializing in human factors and group decision making.

After graduation, Tani worked for Bolt Beranek and Newman in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the experimental psychology department. In 1988, Tani joined Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC) in Dulles, Virginia, initially as a senior structures engineer, and then as the mission operations manager for the Transfer Orbit Stage (TOS). In that role, he served as the TOS flight operations lead, working with NASA/JSC mission control in support of the deployment of the ACTS/ TOS payload during the STS-51 mission in September 1993.

Tani then moved to the Pegasus program at OSC as the launch operations manager. In that capacity, he served as lead for the development of procedures and constraints for the launching of the air launched Pegasus unmanned rocket. Tani also was responsible for defining, training, and leading the team of engineers who worked in the launch and control room.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in April 1996, Tani reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. Having completed two years of training and evaluation, he qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist in 1998.

He held technical duties in the Astronaut Office Computer Support Branch, and EVA Branch and has served as a Crew Support Astronaut (CSA) for Expedition-4. Tani flew on STS-108 in 2001, and has logged over 11 days in space, including over 4 EVA hours in one space walk.

In 2002, he was a crewmember on the Aquarius undersea research habitat for 9 days as part of the NEEMO-2 mission (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations). Tani then trained and qualified as the backup flight engineer for Expedition 11, which launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-6 in April 2005.

He is currently assigned as a flight engineer for Expeditions 15 and 16. He will launch to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard STS-120 and will return aboard STS-122, living and working for several months on the ISS. During that time he will perform 3 spacewalks and numerous robotic operations in support of the installation and checkout of Node-2, now named Harmony.

SPACE FLIGHT EXPERIENCE: STS-108 Endeavour (December 5-17, 2001) was the 12th shuttle flight to visit the International Space Station. During the mission Tani served as Mission Specialist-2.

Endeavour's crew delivered the Expedition-4 crew and returned the Expedition-3 crew. The crew unloaded over three tons of supplies, logistics and science experiments from the Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module. Tani performed a space walk to wrap thermal blankets around ISS Solar Array Gimbals. STS-108 was accomplished in 185 Earth orbits, traveling 4.8 million miles in 283 hours and 36 minutes, including an EVA of 4 hours and 12 minutes.

Last updated: January 2007

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