NewSpace 2011: NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver

Deputy NASA Administrator Lori Garver

Lori Garver:

  • When she first met Pete at NSS, they both had the goal of creating a space-faring civilization
  • NASA has a sub-role in developing a space-faring civilization
  • ISS is now built and permanently occupied….that is a space-faring civilization, if you ask me
  • An international community living and working outside the planet
  • We want to go further….NASA role is to develop those technologies to expand humanity beyond LEO
  • Having folks who follow will make that civilization possible
  • Remembered that when Rick Tumlinson told her that he was forming a separate organization (Space Frontier Foundation) from NSS about 20 years ago….
  • The SFF’s ideas are no longer revolutionary….
  • Was given a speech to read, but you guys are like family to me so won’t read it….going through the agenda and discuss what NASA is trying to do to evolve space….
  • Main goal is to try to get back to a NACA role of furthering the technology….not here to compete with the private sector (which is not legal)
  • That is not NASA’s only role….the space agency is tasked with going further….goal is NOT to create a space-faring civilization….to push out, to learn new things in order to benefit all mankind…
  • NASA must explore, expand out into the cosmos in order for humanity to survive…

Suborbital Spaceflight

  • Efforts begun at NASA under Mike Griffin…
  • CRuSR program will help make suborbital spaceflight cheaper and eventually orbital spaceflight…
  • Suborbital is well under way toward becoming a success

Orbital Spaceflight

  • Orbital spaceflight as a market: we do recognize that this is a key role for the government to open up ISS for private research

Public/Private Sector Partnerships

  • 85 percent of NASA’s budget goes to the private sector
  • That percentage is not changing, but rather the way that NASA is doing things with private sector
  • Commercial crew is getting all attention, but new methods are being used in other areas
  • Recycling of water on ISS was done in a more commercial way
  • Other methods: Anchor tenancy (COTS), Centennial Prizes, Google Lunar X Prize data buys, etc.

Customer Base & Exploring New Markets

  • ISS NGO to manage research work on station
  • Government is not always the best one to chose what space research should be done

Was a consultant to a private company run by SC Johnson Chairman. Set up Fisk Investments. He was very interested in commercial microgravity work. Invested millions of his own dollars. He was willing to put his own money into something NASA said it wanted to use. Took two years to fly. Experiment was on Columbia, which was lost. He moved on. But he’s still excited about microgravity and Garver is interested in getting another deal going.

Commercial Crew

  • Not an easy decision….could have gone with existing programs, but that was leading U.S. human spaceflight over a cliff
  • The president really believes this approach will lead humanity out into the cosmos
  • “It’s very very hard to take on the status quo and the established contracts.”
  • Believe that we have political support, but change is hard

BEO Exploration

  • Asteroid mission is the next U.S. mission beyond Earth orbit
  • Got a briefing from a company yesterday that said it could do an asteroid mission by 2019

Closing Remarks

  • Moving humanity out into the cosmos, leaving the world a better place than the way I found it is what motivates me
  •  Make sure that we’re never in a position in which all of humanity is on Earth


How can we help?

  • You’ve been helping, we would not be here without you. The important thing is that we do this in a way that does not take all of NASA’s budget (building rockets, etc.) to allow us to move further.
  • Try to move out into space in a way that grows jobs that does not depend entirely on government spending.
  • These are not difficult concepts. This is capitalism.

Concern about the shift from COTS model Space Act Agreements to traditional federal acquisition approach on commercial crew? WTF?

Don’t give up on us. We work for you. Don’t let us off the hook. COTS worked because the incentives are what they are. We must structure things so that we don’t add hundreds of millions in costs. I see people working toward the same goals. Don’t let us off the hook.

We need to do this in concert with the people who are making the investment, what works for them.