Daniel Tani
Tani in 2001
Born (1961-02-01) February 1, 1961 (age 63)
EducationMassachusetts Institute of Technology (BS, MS)
Space career
NASA astronaut
Time in space
131d 18h 29m
SelectionNASA Group 16 (1996)
STS-120/122 (Expedition 16)
Mission insignia

Daniel M. Tani (born February 1, 1961) is an American engineer and retired NASA astronaut. He was born in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania, but considers Lombard, Illinois, to be his hometown.[1]

With Peggy Whitson, Tani conducted the 100th spacewalk on the International Space Station.[1]


Tani graduated from Glenbard East High School, Lombard, Illinois, in 1979, and received a Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in mechanical engineering from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1984, and 1988, respectively.[1] While at MIT, Tani became a brother of the Lambda Phi chapter of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.[2]

Tani's Space suit is featured prominently in the main hallway of Glenbard East High School, where he graduated from in 1979.


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.[1] 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 uncrewed rocket. Tani also was responsible for defining, training, and leading the team of engineers who worked in the launch and control room.[1][3]

NASA career

Tani during his STS-108 spacewalk

Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in April 1996, Tani reported to the Johnson Space Center in August 1996.[1] After completing two years of training and evaluation, he qualified for flight assignment as a mission specialist in 1998.[1] He performed technical duties in the Astronaut Office Computer Support Branch and Extra-Vehicular Activity (EVA) Branch, and served as a crew support astronaut for Expedition 2.[1]


Tani flew on STS-108 in 2001, and logged over 11 days in space, including over 4 EVA hours in one spacewalk. 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 to the station, and returned the Expedition 3 crew. The crew transferred over three tons of supplies, logistics and science experiments from the Raffaello Multi-Purpose Logistics Module to the station. Tani performed a spacewalk to wrap thermal blankets around the 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.


In May 2002, Tani served as an aquanaut on the NEEMO 2 (NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations) crew aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory. Tani and his fellow crew members lived and worked for one week beneath the Atlantic Ocean.[4]

Expedition 16

Following his return from STS-108, Tani was assigned as the Expedition 9 backup flight engineer. Tani was eventually assigned to Expedition 16 as flight engineer, and launched to the station aboard STS-120 on October 23, 2007. Tani completed one EVA with the crew of STS-120, and four additional spacewalks during his increment aboard the space station. Originally scheduled to return to Earth with the crew of STS-122 in December, the mission was delayed due to engine cutoff sensor issues during countdown. Instead, it launched on February 7. Tani returned on STS-122 on February 20, 2008.

Extra Vehicular Activities

Dan Tani has performed five spacewalks or EVAs to date.

Number Date Duration Description
EVA 1 Dec. 10, 2001 04:12 Install thermal blankets over the Beta Gimbal Assemblies (BGAs)
EVA 2 Nov. 20, 2007 06:40 External outfitting of the Harmony node[5]
EVA 3 Nov. 24, 2007 07:04 External outfitting of the Harmony node[5]
EVA 4 Dec. 18, 2007 06:56 International Space Station solar array issues[6]
EVA 5 Jan. 30, 2008 07:10 Replaced a motor at the base of one of the International Space Station's solar wings[7]

Retirement from NASA

Tani left NASA in August 2012 to become the Vice President of Mission and Cargo Operations in the Advanced Programs Group of Orbital Sciences Corporation in Dulles, Virginia.[8]

In August 2016, Tani left Orbital Sciences Corporation (now Orbital ATK) to join the High School Faculty at the American School in Japan, where he taught science, engineering and design.[9]


Member, Japanese American Citizens League, Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, and Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Patron of Blackrock Castle Observatory, Cork, Ireland.


Personal life

Tani is married to Jane Egan from Cork, Ireland, and enjoys golf, flying, running, tennis, music, and cooking.[1] Tani threw out the ceremonial first pitch and sang the "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" at Wrigley Field on August 20, 2008.[10]

His parents, Rose and Henry N. Tani, are both deceased. During World War II, they and their children were relocated from their California farm to the Tanforan Assembly Center in San Bruno, where they lived for several months in converted horse stables at the Tanforan Racetrack, and then Topaz War Relocation Center in Utah as part of the Japanese American internment program of the U.S. government.[11] On December 19, 2007, during Tani's stay on the International Space Station as a member of Expedition 16, he was informed by the ground team that his mother had been killed when a freight train collided with her car.[12][13][14][15]

See also


Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "DANIEL M. TANI, NASA ASTRONAUT (FORMER)" (PDF). NASA. August 2012. Retrieved June 18, 2021.
  2. ^ Notable Alumni of The Alpha Delta Phi
  3. ^ "A journey to the space with acclaimed astronaut Daniel Tani". EgyptToday. 2019-07-07. Retrieved 2020-10-31.
  4. ^ NASA (2006-03-21). "NASA – NEEMO History". NASA. Archived from the original on 2006-10-08. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
  5. ^ a b "NASA – Spacewalkers to Hook Up Harmony at its New Location". Archived from the original on 2007-11-18. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
  6. ^ "NASA – Spacewalkers Find No Solar Wing Smoking Gun". Archived from the original on 2007-12-17. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
  7. ^ "NASA – Spacewalkers Replace Solar Wing Motor". Archived from the original on 2021-01-26. Retrieved 2008-02-05.
  8. ^ "Orbital Sciences Corporation : ORBITAL NAMES DANIEL TANI VICE PRESIDENT OF MISSION AND CARGO OPERATIONS". Reuters. August 13, 2012. Archived from the original on July 21, 2015. Retrieved March 17, 2015.
  9. ^ "ASIJ Astronaut Dan Tani Reflects on Space Week". ASIJ News. 2017-03-17. Retrieved 2022-05-06.
  10. ^ WBBM article
  11. ^ Todd Halvorson (November 27, 2001). "Wartime Struggles of Interned Japanese-Americans Paved Way for NASA Astronaut". Space.com. Retrieved 2007-12-19.
  12. ^ Ned Potter (2007). "Astronaut's Mother Dies While Son in Space". ABC News. Retrieved December 20, 2007.
  13. ^ Smith, Gerry. "Crash kills astronaut's mom". The Chicago Tribune Web Edition. Retrieved 2016-10-16.
  14. ^ Warren E. Leary (December 20, 2007). "Astronaut's Mother Is Killed by Freight Train". The New York Times. Retrieved December 20, 2007.
  15. ^ TRIBUNE, Greg Canfield, SPECIAL TO THE. "Tani thanks Lombard back". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2020-10-31.((cite web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)