Awful propaganda hack at an article, Brian. You can do better than this.
Rewriting history by Garver on her way unceremoniously out the door doesn't change that. That commercial space has done well, and that it is becoming the natural spaceflight partner to go to LEO that everyone other than her and this administration knew had to happen, is a happy accident. They would have likely happily blown up commercial space too if it had helped to end the manned program they disliked.
Now she acts like the only champion commercial space has known. What a sick joke. Only those not around to the industry, NASA and human spaceflight workforce to see the truth of it, could believe this load of hogwash. I'd like to think the space media, especially Space News, could report better than this.
Regardless of the money constraints, the Augustine Commission, or any other cold splashes of reality, the truly only logical way to space for humanity is mostly prescribed for us, regardless of the political party or adminstration, or who gets to put their name on it.
The only logical rough order for human presence extension beyond Earth is the one proposed so many times. We have already taken the baby step of "short" visiting to the moon. We won't be "visiting" only ever again--only going to stay. But before that we needed to learn to live and operate in daily space environment, which we are currently doing in ISS in LEO.
With the daily space operations experience in hand, the next logical step is is live a quarter million miles away (only a few days to return) on a permanent moon base. As we learn about longer term exposure and living beyond of radiation belts (countermeasures still need to be fully decided on and developed), we will then hopefully be ready with the type of propulsion that will get us tens of millions of miles away on a human trip to the only other location in the solar system that holds much promise. We likely need to be able to do it in weeks (4-8), not many months, unless new shielding or countermeasures come forward.
I'm not underestimating the costs, nor the political will necessary to bear costs in a shrinking national budget environment we are going to face. But the above order is the only possible one that makes strategic sense to those that understand space. That's way Congress fought back, and fought Lori Garver. They grasp the simple truth of the above, and they didn't want to see taxpayer money wasted--again. If money is delayed, then it will unfortunately happen later rather than sooner. But filling in the interim with asteroid mission(s) is one thing only-a diversion of resources from doing something important and useful.
Sadly, Ms. Garver was never helpful in understanding or explaining the above to this administration. This asteroid mission was and is a boondoggle at best and a foolish waste of resources at a minimum. I suspect even her science community friends telling her this is probably part of why she so suddenly left. Many have long suspected her pushing of this Asteroid plan was to cover over her desire to kill Orion (which you note she and this Administration didn't manage to do) while decimating our human space program's world class work force. That decimation and the laying low of JSC and other human centers is what I suspect will ultimately define her sad legacy in space.
Because my Mother always sad try to say something nice about everyone, her efforts have helped embolden some new commercial entrants that will have a real role in future space. This was going to happen anyway (in fact was on track even back to the Bush Admin--they knew there wasn't enough money for everything in the Vision without commercial space in the mix), but Ms. Garver used the false pitting of commercial versus established space as a way to decimate human space efforts and kill the Vision, Though no one knows why for certain, the Vision certainly didn't have this administration's name on it, and all politicians do sadly like their name on plaques. Sadly, that story isn't terribly unusual for NASA either, though they used the Augustine conclusions about money as cover to kill the only nicely logical progression of humans into space.
So though it came from an ignoble purpose to start with, the promotion of commercial space has been a good one, and one many of us have sought out for a long time. The Douglas's, Boeing's, Marietta's, and Lockheed's of the dawning (commercial) space age are being born now, and we will have seen them from their humble beginnings. And the established providers will have a thing to two to say about that future as well, as they transition from being a govt. only contractor to a resource\provider to a new wider audience of clientele. And as prices go down, we will finally see just how elastic that discussed commercial market for space truly is.
If only we former govt. contractor workers can manage to live through this horrendously grinding transition to whatever the sausage looks like when it comes out the other side, we may all look back on this as having been a pretty wide open, barnstorming side of new space era that is being born. Just paying the bills till then will be the challenge for so many.
Good bye Ms. Garver. I, like many other who have been harmed by you, wonder how you will ultimately be remembered...I'm guessing it won't be fondly.