Astronaut Grieves From Space Station

Tani speaks to family via teleconference to help plan mother's memorial service
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2007 8:32 AM CST
Richard Tani, left, listens as his sister Christine Tani, right, talks about their mother Rose Tani during a news conference Thursday, Dec. 20, 2007, in Lombard, Ill. Rose Tani, mother of NASA astronaut...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Before they blast off for missions that could take months, NASA asks astronauts to choose if they want to learn if there's important news from home. Daniel Tani said yes, and is this week mourning his mother from space. Tani has chosen to continue his daily tasks, and yesterday spoke to his family via teleconference to help plan her Sunday memorial service.

"Those who knew her will know that words cannot describe her vitality, generosity and warmth," Tani said in a statement about 90-year-old Rose Tani, who died when her car was struck by a freight train. "She was my hero." Tani was scheduled to be home for Christmas, but a glitch in the Atlantis fuel system delayed his return to Earth until January. "I will proudly complete my mission," Tani said, "and join my family when I return."