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Barbara Esker

Deputy AA for Programs for the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate

Barbara Esker is the Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs under the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD) at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.

She provides oversight of ARMD’s program, mission, and project portfolio, setting program, mission, and project management strategy for the directorate including strategies for technology integration, and developing and improving program and project management related policies and processes. She also ensures overall coordination of aeronautics programs inside and outside ARMD working closely with program directors and mission integration managers, so that they adhere to national, agency, and directorate policies, guidelines, and processes.

Esker served as Deputy Director and Acting Director of the ARMD Advanced Air Vehicles Program and its predecessor, the Fundamental Aeronautics Program. In these capacities, she led the development of advanced technologies for efficiency, noise, and performance improvements for small vertical takeoff & landing, subsonic transport, commercial supersonic, and hypersonic vehicles.

At NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland prior to 2009, she served as deputy project manager for the Fundamental Aeronautics Program’s Subsonic Rotary Wing project and worked in a variety of program and project management positions supporting the Low Emissions Alternative Propulsion project under the Vehicle Systems Program, the Propulsion Base Research and Technology Program, the General Aviation Propulsion Program, and the Advanced Subsonic Technology Program. She also served as deputy chief and acting chief of the Propulsion Systems Analysis Office.

In 2019, Esker was recognized with a NASA Headquarters Honor Award for exemplary leadership. She has also received a NASA Exceptional Service Medal for sustained excellence and innovation in program management, three agency-level recognitions, six team achievement awards, 27 individual contribution awards, the Glenn Federal Women’s Program Award, the Cleveland Federal Executive Board Wings of Excellence Award, and has completed OPM’s Women’s Executive Leadership Program.

Esker holds a bachelor’s of science and master’s of science degrees from the University of Akron, both in mechanical engineering, along with certificates in engineering management and emotionally intelligent leadership from Case Western Reserve University. She is an AIAA Associate Fellow (class of 2020) and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.


Associate Administrator

Photo of Carol Carrol with the U.S. flag behind her.

Deputy Associate Administrator

Deputy Associate Administrator for Policy

Deputy Associate Administrator for Programs