Meet Astronaut Dan Tani
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.
The daily Astronaut Encounter briefings allow time for a presentation from the astronaut and a discussion, so bring your questions and your camera.
Visitors can also get an astronaut's autograph at The Space Shop at various times during the day.
With an additional purchase, visitors can enjoy an exclusive buffet lunch and group presentation during Dine With An Astronaut. Offered at noon daily, lunch includes a question and answer session and photo opportunities!
During his time as an astronaut, Mission Specialist Dan Tani flew two space shuttle missions and worked on the International Space Station (ISS) for 120 days as a flight engineer. Tani graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1988 with a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. NASA selected Tani to be an astronaut in 1996.
Tani's first flight to space, STS-108 Endeavour, launched December 2001. While in orbit, Tani completed a spacewalk tasked with wrapping thermal blankets around the station solar array gimbals. Tani then served as an aquanaut for NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) aboard the Aquarius underwater laboratory in 2002. Tani and his fellow crew members lived and worked for one week beneath the Atlantic Ocean as training for the extreme conditions of space.
His second spaceflight, STS-120 Discovery, launched October 2007 to join ISS Expedition 16. Tani stayed in orbit for 120 days and performed five spacewalks totaling 34 hours and 59 minutes. He also served as ISS Branch Chief and as Capsule Communicator (CAPCOM). After retiring from NASA in 2012, Tani was named Vice President of Mission and Cargo Operations for Orbital Sciences Corporation, now known as Orbital ATK. In 2016, he left Orbital ATK and joined the faculty at the American School in Japan teaching science, engineering and design.