Jan Osburg

Jan Osburg
Senior Engineer


Ph.D. in aerospace engineering, University of Stuttgart; M.S. in aerospace engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

Media Resources

This researcher is available for interviews.

To arrange an interview, contact the RAND Office of Media Relations at (310) 451-6913, or email media@rand.org.

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Jan Osburg is a senior engineer at RAND. His work focuses on aerospace, defense, and homeland security. Recent projects involved assessing next-generation launch vehicles, researching counter-UAS technologies, identifying options for aerial reconnaissance during Joint Forcible Entry Operations, developing resistance-based deterrence strategies for the Baltic states, mitigating the North Korean nuclear threat, space rescue, and planetary defense. He has spent significant time as an embedded RAND analyst in Iraq and Afghanistan—six months with MNF-I in Baghdad in 2009, three months with CFSOCC-A in Kabul in 2010, and two months with the Asymmetric Warfare Group in Bagram in 2013.

He previously worked as a research engineer at Georgia Tech's Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory, where he led projects that applied probabilistic methods and tools to the conceptual design of aerospace systems. 

As a 2006–2007 fellow of Georgia Tech's Sam Nunn Security Program, he studied national security and emergency preparedness issues. Projects included developing proactive policy options for the North Korean nuclear crisis, creating an interactive visualization capability for nuclear blast effects, and modeling the impact of disasters on cellular communications infrastructure.

Osburg has participated in multiple expeditions to Mars-analog research facilities, with roles ranging from crew commander and station engineer to health and safety officer. While pursuing his doctorate at the University of Stuttgart, he worked as a research engineer and lecturer and directed international interdisciplinary workshops on the conceptual design of inhabited space systems. Osburg holds a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from the University of Stuttgart.


German, French


  • Space Exploration

    Governance in Space: Mining the Moon and Beyond

    Without further cooperation and agreement among space powers, multiple, competing governance systems may end up being established, further increasing potential for conflict. The time to address this issue is now, so that the use of deep-space resources contributes to prosperity, security, and freedom on Earth and throughout the solar system.

    Nov 18, 2022

    The Hill

  • Space Science and Technology

    Russia's Withdrawal from the ISS: Another Sign of Its Space Decline?

    Russia's threatened exit from the International Space Station could simply be more bluster from Moscow at a time of heightened tension between Russia and the West over Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But it also appears to be another signal that Russia's profile in space is in decline, a trend that is likely to continue and that the United States could be preparing for now.

    Aug 4, 2022

    United Press International

  • Security Cooperation

    'If You Want Peace, Prepare for Resistance'

    Lithuania's government issued a guide on how its citizens can resist a potential Russian invasion and occupation. Resistance is a key element of the “Total Defense” strategy all three Baltic states have been pursuing, spurred on by Russian aggression.

    Nov 22, 2016

    The National Interest