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Portrait of David A. King

David A. King

Former Center Director at Marshall Space Flight Center (2003–2009)

David A. King retired as director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in April 2009. He became director Center in Huntsville, Ala., on June 15, 2003. He was named deputy director at Marshall in November 2002. Prior to serving as deputy director, he was director of Shuttle Processing at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, Fla., where he managed and coordinated all Space Shuttle processing and launch operations, overseeing the work of approximately 5,400 civil service and contractor employees.

Under his leadership at the Kennedy Space Center, King coordinated all pre-launch preparations, as well as Shuttle landing operations. As the senior member of the Shuttle launch team during the 3-day countdown process, King ultimately made the final determination to launch.

Dave King, former director of Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and NASA Columbia Recovery director, gives the keynote speech during an Apollo, Challenger, Columbia Lessons Learned Program employee event at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

King began his NASA career in 1983 as a main propulsion system engineer. He later served as flow director for the Space Shuttle Discovery and then as the acting deputy director of the Installation Operations Directorate. He was appointed deputy director of Shuttle Processing in 1996, Shuttle Launch director in 1997, and director of Shuttle Processing in 1999.

While assuming the role as director of Shuttle Processing, he reassumed the responsibilities as Shuttle launch director from July 1999 until the position was filled in August 2000. As launch director, he oversaw six Space Shuttle launches, including missions to the Mir space station, the International Space Station, and a repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.

King earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of South Carolina and a master’s degree in business administration from the Florida Institute of Technology.

For his exceptional contributions to the space program, he has been recognized with the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal, the Presidential Rank Award, and the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal.