NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver has resigned from the agency to join the Air Line Pilots Association, International (ALPA).
Garver leaves NASA effective 6 September, says the agency. Reports say Garver will take up the general manger position at ALPA. The association, which represents more than 50,000 pilots at US and Canadian carriers, declines to comment on Garver's joining.
In a tweet, Garver says she is sad to leave NASA but is "excited for [the] next challenge" with ALPA.
NASA administrator Charles Bolden calls Garver "an indispensable partner in our efforts to keep NASA on a trajectory of progress and innovation".
"Lori has led the way on so many of the Obama Administration's space priorities, including our commercial crew and cargo programme, the re-establishment of a space technology mission directorate, our use of challenges and prizes, and our unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion," adds Bolden in a statement.
Garver has served as deputy administrator with NASA since July 2009. She had earlier worked with the agency from 1996 to 2001 in various roles.
ALPA advertised for a general manager position in March, after the resignation of long-time staff director Jalmer Johnson.
CEO Update, a trade publication that covers associations, has listed the role of ALPA general manager among the 200 most well-paid among associations and public interest groups. In 2010, for example, Garver's predecessor received $471,000 in direct compensation, $218,000 in deferred compensation and $28,800 in non-taxed benefits.
The general manager leads a staff of 300 and reports to ALPA President Capt Lee Moak.