Thanks from Orbit

Dec 21, 2007 12:58pm

NASA has sent a brief statement which it says was written by astronaut Dan Tani, who is on board the International Space Station, orbiting the Earth at an altitude of 210 miles.    Tani’s mother, Rose, was killed in an auto accident Wednesday in Lombard, Il., a suburb of Chicago.  NASA says it is the first time an astronaut has had a death in the family during a mission.  Tani has no immediate way of getting home; he was supposed to be picked up by the Space Shuttle Atlantis, but its launch has been delayed until at least January 10 by a faulty fuel sensor system. Here is the text of Tani’s message: "I would like to thank everyone who has expressed their condolences during this time of grieving for me and my family.  Living on the space station means that I experience all aspects of life — be they joyous or tragic — while circling the Earth without a convenient way to return.  Of course, I was aware of this situation before my mission and I fully accept that I will proudly complete my mission on the International Space Station and join my family when I return.  My NASA management and colleagues have been fully supportive through this and I would like to thank them for their concern and compassion. "My mother was a complete joy.  Those who knew her will know that words cannot describe her vitality, generosity and warmth.  She was my hero.  We will all miss her dearly."
There is now word from the Tani family that Rose Tani’s memorial service on Sunday will not be videotaped, as had been discussed, for Dan Tani to watch in orbit.  He didn’t want to become the center of attention, according to his brother Richard. Instead, says Richard Tani, Dan will tape a brief message from the space station; it will be played at the service.

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