Thunderbird Initiative for Space Leadership, Policy and Business

Our Mission

We serve as a hub for academic-industry-governmental collaboration in space research, education and development. We bring scholars, executives, founders, policymakers and military officers together to address industry, national and global challenges.

Our vision is to build a better future for our nation and planet by ensuring that space organizations are well managed, and that space technologies are well applied. We will achieve this by empowering the next generation of global space leaders with domain expertise, 21st-century management skills, and powerful personal networks in the space community. The future is launching here.

What We Do

Education and Training

The Initiative creates, aggregates and disseminates space domain knowledge through design and development of Executive Education programs as well as customized trainings for the space industry and governmental agencies.

Building the Global Space Economy

We assist our partners in the space community with programs and events that enable access to public and private funding opportunities. Our team brings significant experience in startup founding and finance as well as work in governmental award funding.

Networking Events

The Initiative hosts regular space networking events at the ASU California Center in downtown Los Angeles, the heart of southern California's space hub, as well as at Thunderbird’s Global Headquarters in Phoenix and at ASU facilities around the world. These events bring industry leaders, influencers, policymakers, military officers, investors and academics into conversation and action.

Research and Academic Insights

Our Thunderbird and ASU faculty are committed to working with leading global organizations to develop a body of academic literature and management of best practices for the space domain. Our portfolio of studies includes business case studies, white papers, articles and more.

Image of Thunderbird students in the Space Leadership program standing by a rocket during a site visit.

About the Initiative

The Thunderbird Initiative for Space Leadership, Policy and Business is based at the ASU California Center in downtown Los Angeles, located at the historic Herald Examiner building. Southern California is the historic heart of American aerospace, the site of two major NASA research facilities (JPL and Armstrong), home of the United States Space Force Space Systems Command and the Aerospace Corporation. It is also the hub for the booming "new space" startup ecosystem.

As always, Thunderbird approaches space with a global mindset and presence. The Initiative engages the worldwide space community via Thunderbird and ASU centers in London, Dubai, Washington D.C. and beyond. The Initiative presents and exhibits at major space conferences and with deep-dive site visits by our #SpaceBird cohorts.


Lifelong Learning

Thunderbird offers executive education from our world-class faculty and an extended group of globally-recognized space experts. Executive education courses are offered as open enrollment at our regional Centers of Excellence, as well as customized for your location.

Entrepreneurial, Corporate, and Policy Engagement

Space is a major component of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, providing nearly unlimited resources, transformational technology spin- offs and invaluable data for economic development. The Initiative engages with executives, startup founders, military leaders and policy makers in leveraging the power of space technologies to build a better human future and a healthier planet.

Research and Case Study Publication

Thunderbird's leading research faculty are partnering with global academics, industry and policymakers on cutting-edge management, entrepreneurship and policy research in the space domain. The Thunderbird team is building a library of business and policy case studies for space education


Thunderbird Clinical Professor Greg Autry

Greg Autry

Clinical Professor (FSC) and Director of the Thunderbird Initiative for Space Leadership, Policy, and Business

Advisory Board

  • Shana Dale, former Deputy NASA Admin, former FAA AST Deputy
  • Jeff DeWitt, former NASA CFO and former AZ Treasurer
  • Terry Virts, NASA Astronaut
  • Kim Crider, USAF Major General (retired), Former Chief Technology Innovation Officer USSF, Current Deloitte Executive Chair for AI innovation, National Security, and Defense
  • Arfan Chaudhry, Former Deputy Director International Strategy BEIS Space Directorate UK
  • Giuseppe Reibaldi, Former ESA official, President Moon Village Association
  • Karlton Johnson, USAF Colonel (retired), CIO & Chief, US Forces Korea Joint Cyber Center, CEO DeLaine Strategy Group, Chairman, Board of Governors, National Space Society
  • David Radzanowski, former NASA CFO and Chief of Staff, former CFO and Treasurer of The Aerospace Corporation



NASA faces its biggest test in decades

The upcoming Artemis I moon launch is carrying the space agency’s ambitious goals for deep space exploration — as well as its hopes to stay ahead of...
Faculty News
Global Impact and Engagement
Image of space rocket at night reflected in water
August 28, 2022 at 2pm EDT

The Road to Artemis

The Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University was proud to host “The Road to Artemis” an unprecedented panel discussion of the development and implementation of the Artemis program including top leaders from across three Presidential administrations.  This panel preceded the historic Artemis 1 mission.  Artemis 1 included the first launch of the SLS (the most powerful rocket ever built) that will send the Orion space capsule on a pathfinder journey around the Moon and return it safely to Earth. The Artemis program will return humans to the Moon and land the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface by as early as 2025. Learn how NASA, commercial, and international partners were able to collaborate, further enabling new knowledge and opportunities across the space sector, as the U.S. and Artemis partner nations make a long-awaited return to deep-space.