Astronaut Biography: Daniel M. Tani

Astronaut Biography: Daniel M. Tani
Veteran NASA astronaut Daniel Tani poses in a U.S. spacesuit for a preflight portrait. (Image credit: NASA.)

NAME: Daniel M. Tani
NASA Astronaut

PERSONAL DATA: Born February 1, 1961 in RidleyPark, Pennsylvania, but considers Lombard, Illinois, to be his hometown.Married to the former Jane Egan from Cork, Ireland. They have two children. Heenjoys 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 HighSchool, Lombard, Illinois, in 1979; received a bachelor and a master of sciencedegree 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 Scienceand Technology from the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce. Recipientof the Japanese-American Citizen League's Nikkei of the Biennium for Scienceand Technology, 2002. NASA spaceflight medal, 2001. Orbital SciencesCorporation Outstanding Technical Achievement Award, 1993.

EXPERIENCE: After Tani received his bachelor'sdegree 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 engineeringin 1988, specializing in human factors and group decision making.

After graduation, Tani worked for Bolt Beranek andNewman 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 operationsmanager for the Transfer Orbit Stage (TOS). In that role, he served as the TOSflight operations lead, working with NASA/JSC mission control in support of thedeployment of the ACTS/ TOS payload during the STS-51 mission in September1993.

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

NASA EXPERIENCE: Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in April1996, Tani reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996. Havingcompleted two years of training and evaluation, he qualified for flightassignment as a mission specialist in 1998.

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

In 2002, he was a crewmember on the Aquarius undersearesearch habitat for 9 days as part of the NEEMO-2mission (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations). Tani then trainedand qualified as the backup flight engineer for Expedition11, which launched aboard the Soyuz TMA-6 in April 2005.

He is currently assigned as a flight engineer for Expeditions15 and 16. He will launch to the International Space Station (ISS) aboard STS-120and will return aboard STS-122,living and working for several months on the ISS. During that time he willperform 3 spacewalks and numerous robotic operations in support of theinstallation 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 SpaceStation. During the mission Tani served as Mission Specialist-2.

Endeavour's crew delivered the Expedition-4crew and returned the Expedition-3 crew. The crew unloaded over three tons ofsupplies, logistics and science experiments from the RaffaelloMulti-Purpose Logistics Module. Tani performed a space walk towrap thermal blankets around ISS Solar Array Gimbals. STS-108 was accomplishedin 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

  • VIDEO:Daniel Tani - STS-108 Mission Specialist
  • MissionDiscovery: STS-108 Story and Multimedia Archive
  • Space Station Mission Coverage
  • CompleteCoverage: ISS Expedition 15
  • Learn More About theInternational Space Station
  • All About Astronauts

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

NASA Archives
U.S. Space Agency

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is the U.S. government agency in charge of the civilian space program as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Founded in 1958, NASA is a civilian space agency aimed at exploring the universe with space telescopes,  satellites, robotic spacecraft, astronauts and more. The space agency has 10 major centers based across the U.S. and launches robotic and crewed missions from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral Florida. It's astronaut corps is based at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. To follow NASA's latest mission, follow the space agency on Twitter or any other social channel, of visit: