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The Future of Human Space Exploration

Flyer for Dan Tani lecture Oct 24 3pm
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Daniel Tani
RDP Space Diplomacy Lab Space Economy Series

On Tuesday, October 24th at 3:00 pm in Social Sciences 136 the course Space Economics 390 (Dept of Economics - Dr. Zanalda) and the Rethinking Diplomacy Program's Space Diplomacy Lab welcome astronaut and Director of Human Exploration and Operations for Northrop Grumman Space Systems, Daniel (Dan) Tani, for a lecture on the past, present, and future of human space exploration. Dan Tani will share the inspiring story of his journey through engineering and spaceflight to a successful career in the burgeoning commercial space arena.

As an engineer and manager with decades of experience in both the private and government space sectors, Dan Tani has worked for space companies on many types of programs including expendable rockets, human rated spacecraft, and human tended habitats. At NASA, Tani was an astronaut at the Johnson Space Center flying on two space missions for a total of 120 days in space and six space walks. He also served at the Goddard Space Flight Center as the chief of the INSPIRE office.

Since leaving the astronaut program in 2012, Dan has worked on the Cygnus ISS cargo delivery program at Orbital Sciences (which transitioned to Orbital ATK), taught high school in Japan, served as a director for the non-profit US-Japan Foundation and led the INSPIRE office at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. He returned to the private sector in 2022 joining Northrop Grumman's Space Systems working in Business Development and the Commercial Destination - Free Flyer program.

Originally from the Chicago area, Dan is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, having received a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering. He is a third generation Japanese-American and the son of parents who were interned at the Topaz Relocation Center as part of the mandatory evacuation of Japanese descendants during World War II.

This event is organized by the Rethinking Diplomacy Program and the Department of Economics in collaboration with the Sanford School of Public Policy. The Rethinking Diplomacy Program is supported by a grant from the Josiah Charles Trent Memorial Foundation Endowment Fund.

For more information, contact Anna Linvill at

Contact: Anna Linvill