NASA selects astronauts from a diverse pool of applicants with a wide variety of backgrounds from scientists to pilots. From the thousands of applications received, only a few are chosen to be a member of the elite NASA Astronaut Corps. Each day at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, visitors get the rare opportunity to meet veteran NASA astronauts.
You may meet the Astronaut of the Day at any of the following opportunities. See the Daily Schedule for times when you arrive.
Beginning as a trainer for NASA, Joe Tanner soon graduated to astronaut – including spacewalker, repairer of the Hubble telescope, and worker on the International Space Station. Tanner started working for NASA Johnson Space Center in 1984 as an aerospace engineer and research pilot. His primary flying responsibilities involved teaching the astronaut pilots Space Shuttle landing techniques in the Shuttle Training Aircraft and instructing the pilots and mission specialists in the T-38.
Selected as an astronaut in 1992, Tanner first flew aboard the space shuttle Atlantis on the STS-66 Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science-3 mission in 1994. He then made two spacewalks to service the Hubble Space Telescope on STS-82 in 1997. Tanner’s third mission was STS-97 in 2000 on Endeavour’s flight to the International Space Station to install the first set of U.S. solar arrays, during which he did three spacewalks. On his last flight, Tanner’s crew installed another set of solar arrays, continuing construction of the station on STS-115 in 2006. He conducted two spacewalks. Tanner also served as part of the Astronaut Support Personnel team at Kennedy Space Center, supporting Space Shuttle launches and landings, and as EVA Branch Chief.
Tanner retired from NASA in August 2008. Currently, Tanner is a Senior Instructor in the University of Colorado Aerospace Engineering Sciences Department in Boulder, Colorado, teaching graduate students project management and systems engineering in a project team environment.