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NASA Marshall Center's Daniel J. Davis Named to NASA's Senior Executive Service
Kim Newton
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
(Phone: 256.544.0034)

News release: 06-087

Daniel J. Davis Daniel J. Davis, manager of the Upper Stage Office, part of the Exploration Launch Projects Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., has been appointed to the federal government’s Senior Executive Service (SES).

The SES is the federal personnel system covering most top managerial and policy positions in the executive branch.

Davis has served in his current position since September 2005. He leads development of the upper stage for NASA's Ares I crew launch vehicle, which will transport the Crew Exploration Vehicle -- the module that can carry up to six astronauts -- to space. Davis oversees implementation of project requirements and controls and allocates resources for the design, testing and flight of the upper stage element.

The Exploration Launch Projects Office at Marshall has overall responsibility for developing the Ares I and Ares V launch vehicles -- keys to the Vision for Space Exploration. The Vision outlines NASA's future exploration goals to return humans to the moon and travel to Mars and destinations beyond. The heavy-lifting Ares V is the agency’s primary vessel for safe, reliable delivery of large-scale resources and hardware to space.

"Our NASA and industry team is looking forward to developing the future space transportation systems that will be safer and much less expensive to operate than our current systems," said Davis. "These Ares launch vehicles will open the door for humanity's need to explore our solar system. The Ares upper stage represents a significant development effort for NASA's design team, but one that we are honored to accept."

Following his selection to the SES development program in 2005, Davis was temporarily assigned to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., supporting shuttle return-to-flight efforts.

He worked with shuttle management to resolve issues related to shuttle propulsion systems. The assignment provided insight into leadership skills, management techniques and tools used to accomplish shuttle missions.

From 2004 to 2005, Davis was manager of the Propulsion Structural, Thermal and Fluid Analysis Division in the Propulsion Systems Department of the Engineering Directorate at the Marshall Center. He oversaw engineering analysis and performance assessment of all propulsion systems and components, such as the space shuttle main engines and solid rocket motors. In early 2004, he was deputy manager of the department.

From 2002 to 2004, Davis was manager of Marshall's Rocket Engine Prototype Project, or RS-84. He was responsible for all business and technical activities for the project, including design, development and testing of the prototype engine, part of NASA's effort to develop a next-generation, reusable launch system.

Davis served from 2000 to 2002 as deputy manager of the 2nd Generation Reusable Launch Vehicle Program office at Marshall, assisting in the planning and directing of systems research, design, development and test activities for next-generation launch vehicle technologies and hardware. He also oversaw the program’s work acquisition strategy, including evaluation of industry proposals and selection of contractors for NASA activities.

From 1996 to 2000, Davis was manager of the Low Cost Technology Project in NASA's Advanced Space Transportation Program Office at Marshall. He was responsible for overall management of the design, fabrication and testing of the Fastrac engine, a turbopump rocket engine developed at Marshall to propel future launch vehicles.

From 1995 to 1996, he was team lead of the X-34 Upper Stage Propulsion Team at Marshall, responsible for all technical issues related to propulsion requirements for the X-34 experimental rocket, a flight demonstrator for advanced technologies and operations. He served from 1994 to 1995 as chief of the Solid Rocket Motor Design Branch at Marshall.

Davis also served in various leadership positions in the private sector. From 1988 to 1989, he was design engineer for the Boeing Company in Huntsville, and from 1986 to 1988, he was a manager for Advanced Technology Incorporated in Huntsville.

Davis initially joined NASA in 1983 as a design engineer in the Ground Support Equipment Branch of the Mechanical Design Department at the Marshall Center. He designed and developed ground support equipment hardware for various NASA projects, including several space shuttle payloads and the Hubble Space Telescope.

During his NASA career, Davis has received numerous honors and awards. He received NASA's Exceptional Achievement Medal in 2002 for his work in the 2nd Generation Reusable Launch Vehicle Program and in 1992 for his work in program development and management.

A native of Birmingham, Ala., Davis graduated in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Auburn University in Auburn, Ala. In 2005, he completed a Senior Executive Fellowship at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Mass.

He and his wife, the former Susan Wambsganss of Birmingham, reside in Huntsville. Their two children attend college.

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