Marco Tantardini is a nonresident senior fellow in the Forward Defense practice of the Atlantic Council’s Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.

Tantardini formerly supported the Chair of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Space Policy (the Italian National Space Council) and served as a member of the Council of Advisors on Science and Technology to the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Space Policy. Since November 2020, he has written a monthly section titled “Space Race” in Longitude, an Italian magazine that enjoys a privileged relationship with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Tantardini previously worked as assistant to the executive director at the Planetary Society in Pasadena, California, the world’s largest public space organization. He was also a visiting scientist at the Mission Design Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Ames Research Center. In 2010, Tantardini built the strategy and the core of the team that led to the Asteroid Retrieval Mission study at the Keck Institute for Space Studies within the California Institute of Technology, which was later adopted by the White House and renamed Asteroid Redirect Mission. From 2015 to 2018, Tantardini was an Italian Space Agency (ASI) associate in the Unit of the Technical Advisors to the President. Since 2015, he has served as a member of the organizing committee and co-chair of mission and campaign design of the International Academy of Astronautics’s Planetary Defence Conference. In 2015, Tantardini chaired the working group for the Office of the Military Advisor to the Prime Minister of Italy tasked to define a roadmap for automated transport. Tantardini is also the founder of DronSystems, a British-American startup developing DroNav, a highly automated air traffic management system for small unmanned aerial vehicles.

Tantardini holds a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering from Politecnico di Milano and a Master of Science in space engineering from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. He studied his masters thesis in applied mathematics and astrodynamics at Universitat Politécnica de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. In Summer 2021, he attended and completed the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education program, Senior Executives in National and International Security. In 2014, he won the AlumniPolimi Award for Innovation from the alumni association of Politecnico di Milano and was featured in the May 2014 issue of Popular Science.