The public-private future of NASA

“We’re now on a very positive track to get our astronauts in space on these commercial vehicles. We should have been funding this earlier, and we wouldn’t have this gap,” Lori Garver, general manager of the Airline Pilots Association and former deputy director of NASA, said of the agency’s progress after ending the space shuttle program.

(Photo Credit: Gigi Schumm)

Garver spoke about the future of NASA with Women of Washington radio hosts Gigi Schumm and Aileen Black.

When it comes to programs that incorporate the private sector into space travel, Garver said, “In my view, this is the perfect way that NASA can help advance our technology in this country, our capability in space, and help us sustain an exploration program.”

As for the struggle to increase funding for NASA, “The government is there to support status quo and it’s very hard to challenge status-quo funding,” she said. “The public should be seeing, and hopefully letting their members of Congress know, that these are valuable missions for NASA.”


Garver said she felt drawn to public service as a child with an uncle and a grandfather in Michigan’s state senate.

“I grew up thinking, of course, part of your responsibility is public service and to make a difference. And it was unique that I made that switch to do it in science technology policy, where I got my masters, now in aviation and space policy, where I believe our nation has been the leader. I’d like to see us continue that leadership, because it is responsible for a great amount of our success.”

Listen to the full Women of Washington radio show.