TaniJust over a week ago, Orbital Sciences Corporation agreed to merge with ATK‘s aerospace and defense groups in a massive $5 billion transaction. The company will operate as Orbital ATK once the deal is complete by the end of calendar year 2014.

Orbital President and CEO David Thompson will be leading the newly formed Orbital ATK, which has around $4.5 billion in calendar year 2013 revenue. By the time the deal is finalized, the company will employ nearly 13,000 individuals across 17 states.

When speaking with investors in a call, Thomson had this to say about the merger: “From a strategic standpoint, this merger will create a much larger and more capable, but still highly innovative, agile and competitive space and defense systems manufacturer”

According to Jill Aitoro from The Washington Business Journal, the merger makes sense for a number of reasons, including the fact that “Arlington-based ATK and Orbital Sciences in Dulles both play in the space launch industry, and have partnered regularly on programs. ATK has provided 400 rocket motors for launch vehicles built by Orbital, in fact.”

Aitoro also makes the case that both companies “have very little competitive overlap in any product areas, even as they target a lot of similar markets and customers.” Both companies support NASA as well as the Pentagon, and both have a significant presence in the commercial market.

The Washington Post points to recent federal budget cuts and the end of NASA’s space shuttle program as drivers making the commercial space sector more competitive. By consolidating infrastructure, Orbital can bolster its competitive edge and go toe to toe with companies like United Launch Alliance and SpaceX.

Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Vice President of Cargo & Mission Operations, Daniel Tani, will be the featured guest at ACG’s upcoming May monthly meeting, where he’ll be discussing the recent merger, as well as his past as an astronaut in greater detail.

Tani was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in April 1996, and qualified for flight assignments as a mission specialist in 1998. He has been an integral part of numerous missions, including STS-108, NEEMO 2, and Expedition 16. He’s also performed five spacewalks or Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVA).

After originally joining Orbital in 1988 as a senior structures engineer, Tani was later appointed as Vice President of Mission and Cargo Operations in the Advanced Programs Group. Among many other responsibilities, his role includes supporting cargo and mission operations activities for Orbital’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services, as well as supporting independent reviews of selected high-value Orbital programs.

To learn more about the upcoming monthly meeting featuring Daniel Tani of Orbital Sciences Corporation, or to register, click HERE.