NASA Public Affairs – Past, Present and Future

| Written by: Alexis Phillips

As a child growing up in Florida, I was fascinated about all things NASA so when I received the email that November’s FPRA Monthly Lunch Meeting speaker is to be Lisa Malone, APR, CPRC, Director of Public Affairs at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida, I was very excited.

A question immediately came into my mind. How do you handle all of the many different communication channels for such a large federal agency? The answer is simple. You handle it with experience, a great team and a plan for the future. Lisa has more than 25 years of experience overseeing public relations, media events, internal and external communications and many more. Over the years, she has had many significant roles throughout NASA Public Relations, all preparing her for her current position and responsibilities. Additionally, she has been the launch commentator for more than 15 years.

Lisa discussed how the role of  NASA Public Relations  is to provide multimedia communication and information to the public via NASA TV, events, photo opportunities, press releases, social media and interviews without advertising NASA. She touched on NASA media needs of the past, present and future.

NASA Public Relations Past:

  • Public relations have come a long way since the early days of the space program. Media coverage varies depending on the type of flight. Flights with humans garner more media coverage.

NASA Public Relations Present:

  • Provide the media with launch coverage, up close photos, interview opportunities and easily accessible information.
  • Opportunities for the NASA Commercial Space Program and the use of Kennedy Space Center launch pads, reuse of support equipment, buildings and rockets.
  • Transform Kennedy Space Center into a multi-user spaceport.
  • Contracting with Russian Partners on Commercial opportunities.

NASA Public Relations Future:

  • Preparing for the next step of creating a launch system to capture an asteroid in space.
  • Continued access to information regarding new projects and advances including the latest pictures from Mars.

My take away is to remember to learn from the past, handle the present and plan for the future. Oh, and be sure to plan a trip to the Kennedy Space Center to see the new Atlantis Space Shuttle Exhibit!