[Joe Tanner] [NASA Logo]
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center
Houston, Texas 77058

Biographical Data

NAME: Joseph R. "Joe" Tanner
NASA Astronaut

Born January 21, 1950, in Danville, Illinois. Married Martha A. Currie. They have two children. He enjoys swimming, camping, mountaineering, and spending time with his family. Joe's parents, Dr. Bill Tanner & Dr. Megan Tanner, reside in Danville, Illinois. Martha's parents, Mr. Jack A. Currie & Mrs. Ruby S. Currie, are deceased. They were residents of Atmore, Alabama.

Graduated from Danville High School, Danville, Illinois, in 1968; received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois in 1973.

NASA Exceptional service medal. NASA Space Flight Medals. NASA Stuart M. Present Flight Achievement Award. JSC Superior Achievement Award. Outstanding Alumnus of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Illinois. Distinguished graduate from Navy Flight Training. Captain of the Swimming Team and "Top 100 Seniors" Award at University of Illinois. Eagle Scout.

Tanner joined the Navy after graduating from the University of Illinois in 1973. He earned his Navy pilot wings in 1975 before serving as an A-7E pilot with Light Attack Squadron 94 (VA-94) aboard the U.S.S. Coral Sea. He finished his active service as an advanced jet instructor pilot with Training Squadron 4 (VT-4) in Pensacola, Florida. Joe continued flying the A-7 with the Navy Reserves while seeking a career with NASA.

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. In addition to his flying duties, Tanner held positions as the aviation safety officer, the head of the pilot section, and the Deputy Chief of the Aircraft Operations Division (AOD). As the Deputy, he assisted the Chief of AOD in managing the activities of over 400 personnel and a fleet of 40 aircraft. He has accumulated more than 7,000 hours in military and NASA aircraft.

Selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in March 1992, Tanner reported to the Astronaut Office in August 1992. He completed one year of initial training and worked in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory before being assigned to his first mission. Tanner also served as part of the Astronaut Support Personnel team at the Kennedy Space Center, supporting Space Shuttle launches and landings.

Tanner flew aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis on the STS-66, November 3-14, 1994, performing the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science-3 (ATLAS-3) mission. ATLAS-3 was the third in a series of flights to study the Earth's atmosphere composition and solar effects at several points during the Sun's 11-year cycle. The mission also carried the CRISTA-SPAS satellite that was deployed to study the chemical composition of the middle atmosphere and retrieved later in the mission. Tanner logged 262 hours and 34 minutes in space and 175 orbits of the Earth.

Tanner performed two space walks as a member of the STS-82 crew to service the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in February, 1997. The STS-82 crew of 7 launched aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on February 11 and returned to a night landing at Kennedy Space Center on February 21. During the flight the crew completed a total of 5 space walks to improve the science capability of the telescope and replace aging support equipment, restoring HST to near perfect working condition. They also repaired several unexpected areas of torn insulation on the telescope's exterior surface. The crew boosted HST's orbit by 8 nautical miles before releasing it to once again study the universe. Tanner's two space walks totaled 14 hours and 01 minutes. The flight orbited the earth 150 times covering 4.1 million miles in 9 days, 23 hours, 37 minutes.

Assigned to STS-97, the fourth Space Shuttle mission to carry hardware to space for the assembly of the International Space Station. He is scheduled to conduct 2 space walks on this mission. Launch is targeted for August 1999.


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