A roundup of statements and other reactions to yesterday’s news that NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver will be leaving the space agency next month, particularly regarding her role in championing commercial spaceflight:
“Throughout her years of service and leadership at NASA, Lori Garver has been a stalwart champion of commercial space and of the public-private partnerships that have begun to change the way the Agency does business,” Commercial Spaceflight Federation president Michael Lopez-Alegria said in a statement. “The innovations she promoted will serve the Agency well as it navigates a period of change and challenge.”
“More than anyone in Washington, Lori Garver has advocated passionately for the future of commercial space in the service this nation. That commitment has been challenged repeatedly by opposition from powerful competing interests around the country and on Capitol Hill,” said Space Florida president Frank DiBello. “We need more people like her in this industry. She remained ever faithful to her vision, and we are all the better for it.”
Space News rounded up some other reactions. “Lori made a real difference to the future of spaceflight,” said SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. “Lori has been one of the most important forces for supporting commercial space during the past decade. Her leadership has been critical to the entire commercial spaceflight industry,” said X PRIZE founder Peter Diamandis.
“She came in convinced that it was an organization that badly needed change, and she tried to make some changes,” John Logsdon, former director of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute, told Florida Today. “It’s an organization that is pretty strongly resistant to change.” However, his successor, Scott Pace, criticized the decision she helped shape to cancel the Constellation program and end plans under the Vision for Space Exploration to send humans back to the Moon. “She was definitely someone who was influential in shaping that decision, which I believe was an unfortunate one.”
Update 12:35 pm: In a separate New York Times interview, Pace said that Garver contributed to “the decline and deterioration of relationships between the White House and Congress” regarding space policy. “I don’t put sole blame on her. She was one of the more visible faces of that.”
“Lori and I share a passion for space technology and I’ve had the honor and pleasure of partnering with her on several cutting-edge space initiatives,” said Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA), ranking member of the appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA, in a statement. He called Garver “an invaluable leader” and “an unrivaled champion and defender of space exploration.”