Barbara Esker

NASA Advanced Air Vehicles Program Deputy Director

Barbara Esker is the deputy director for the Advanced Air Vehicles Program (formerly Fundamental Aeronautics Program) under the NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. In collaboration with the program director, Barbara Esker supports the overall planning, management and evaluation of the directorate’s efforts to develop tools, technologies, and concepts that enable new generations of civil aircraft that are safer, more energy efficient, and have a smaller environmental footprint.

The Advanced Air Vehicles Program focuses on achieving major leaps in the performance of subsonic fixed and vertical lift aircraft to meet challenging and growing long-term civil aviation needs; on pioneering low-boom supersonic flight to achieve new levels of global mobility; and on sustaining hypersonic competency for national needs while advancing fundamental hypersonics research. Previously, she was the acting director for the Advanced Air Vehicles Program, supporting the ARMD associate administrator in a broad range of mission directorate activities, including strategic and program planning; budget development; program review; and external coordination.

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, Barbara 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.

Barbara Esker holds Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Akron, and certificates in engineering management and in emotionally intelligent leadership from Case Western Reserve University.