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Dr. Daniel E. Hastings


Dr. Daniel E. Hastings was reelected for a third term to the Board of Trustees of The Aerospace Corporation on December 8, 2020. His previous terms of office spanned December 2000 to December 2009 and December 2010 to December 2019.

Hastings is the Cecil and Ida Green education professor of aeronautics and astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He served as MIT’s dean of undergraduate education from 2006 to 2013. In January 2014, he was appointed to a five-year term as the director of SMART, the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology.

Hastings joined the MIT faculty as an assistant professor in 1985, advancing to associate professor in 1988 and full professor in 1993. He has taught courses and seminars in plasma physics, rocket propulsion, advanced space power and propulsion systems, aerospace policy, technology and policy, and space systems engineering. His teaching has ranged from freshman classes to doctoral seminars.

From 1997 to 1999, Hastings served as chief scientist of the Air Force. In this role, he was the chief scientific adviser to the chief of staff and the secretary and provided assessments on a wide range of scientific and technical issues affecting the Air Force mission.

Hastings’ research has spanned five areas: laser material interactions, fusion plasma physics, spacecraft plasma environment interactions, space plasma thrusters, and space systems analysis and design. He has published more than 120 papers, has written a book on spacecraft-environment interactions, and has chapters in several other books. He is a fellow of three professional societies: the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA); the International Astronautical Federation (IAF); and the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE). He was also a member of the Intelligence Science Board, where he was co-leader of a study on science and technology management processes. Previous service includes membership on the NASA Advisory Council; the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory Board; the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board, including three years as chair; the Defense Science Board; and the National Science Board. He currently serves on the Blue Origin Advisory Board, has worked on numerous committees of the National Research Council, and is a member of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Hastings’ citation from the NAE reads, “For contributions in spacecraft and space system environment interactions, space system architecture, and leadership in aerospace research and education.”

National awards include the Air Force Exceptional Service Award (2008), the QEM Giant in Science Award (2005), the NRO Distinguished Civilian Award (2003), the AIAA Losey Award (2002), the National Guard Bureau Eagle Award (1999), and the Air Force Distinguished Civilian Award (1999 and 1997).

Hastings earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Oxford, England and a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.