Escaping Gravity: My Quest To Transform NASA and Launch a New Space Age

Diversion. Jun. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9781635767704. $28.99. SCI
Part memoir and part argument in favor of commercial involvement in human space exploration, Garver’s book details her efforts as NASA’s Deputy Administrator under President Obama to dismantle the agency’s Apollo Program–era mindsets and infrastructure that impeded human spaceflight into the 21st century. Incorporating details of previously unpublished conversations and reports, Garver recounts collaborating with a few likeminded “space pirates” to encourage NASA to partner with private companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Virgin Galactic to develop the commercial crew and cargo programs for spaceflight. This book focuses primarily on the political influences and policy changes that opened the door for commercial spaceflight, and as such it reads like many other political memoirs rather than an objective history of NASA’s commercial partnerships. Garver’s personal agenda and politics, which she discloses, give the book a strong bias that might not appeal to all popular science readers.
VERDICT With accessible language and explanations of key science concepts, this book is aimed at general audiences who are interested in the history of NASA and its emerging commercial spaceflight partners.
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