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Meet Joe Delai

Joe Delai

Mechanical Engineer
NASA Kennedy Space Center

Webcast and Chat Archives


Who I Am and What I Do

My name is Joe Delai. I am currently working on the varies truss segments of the International Space Station (ISS). I work directly with the contractors on design, manufacturing, testing, and implementation of hardware for the ISS. One of the interesting things about my job is that it requires me to be a manager, engineer, budget analyst, and design analyst, as well as schedule and provide advice on all stages of projects.

My Career Journey

I was born and raised and went to high school in Boston, Massachusetts. After graduation I knew that I wanted to come to Florida to attend school at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in Daytona Beach. I graduated from ERAU with a Bachelor of Science degree in Aeronautical Science. I also completed a 4-year AFROTC program, and was commissioned into the USAF as a 2nd Lt.

After 5 years with the Air force, I earned my second Engineering degree and elected to work for NASA as an Aerospace Engineer. I spent 7 years designing, building, and testing various scientific experiments to fly in NASA's spacelabs.

After this project I spent 6 years with the International Space Station Program on the Third American ISS launch in the Space Station Hardware Integration Office. My primary job was to oversee and participate in the design, integration, testing of payloads, verify test requirements, resource requirements, and budget issues.

I then worked for the NASA/KSC Government Relations Office for 1 year. I was also assigned as the KSC State Legislative Liaison to the State of Florida in Tallahassee, and then assigned as the international liaison for the space station.

I am currently working on varies truss segments for the International Space Station.


My father was a former member of the military and a scientist. As a scientist he always wanted to know why things worked. I was able to apply his curiosity of why things worked to my interest in aviation related issues. My father worked with AVCO in the 1960s with the Apollo program. He used to take me to where he worked and showed me the capsule. This had a profound effect on me because of my interest in aviation and influenced me to pursue a career in the space program.

Personal Information

I am married with two children that keep us very busy. In may spare time I love sports and working on cars.

Likes About Career

My job gives me the opportunity to take my "hands-on" experience and travel throughout the country and teach the contractors what I have been involved with for the last nine years. Building and testing hardware that has to do with space has many more variables involved with it than things that are built for use in our environment, here on Earth. It is still a new frontier that requires a lot of problem solving. Obviously, that information base is growing. I also enjoy the teamwork associated with SSHIO.

My Future Plans and Goals

I plan to stay on with NASA at KSC and hopefully my years of "hands-on" experience will continue to benefit the space program.


Always have a goal. Work hard in school to achieve that goal. Don't let anyone or anything stop you. But most importantly, have fun.

Chats and Webcasts:


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