David A. King, director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., has been selected associate fellow by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics foundation, the nation’s largest society devoted to the advancement of aviation, space and defense.

King was honored at the Associate Fellows Dinner on Jan. 9 in conjunction with the 44th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit in Reno, Nev.

An associate fellow must be nominated by an AIAA member with recommendations from three members of associate fellow grade or higher. Nominees must be senior members of the AIAA with at least 12 years of professional experience. Honorees are also selected for outstanding original work, important engineering or scientific work or valuable contributions to the arts, science and technology of their field.

“To be nominated and recognized by my fellow members makes this selection even more of an honor,” King said. “As a member of the AIAA, I commend the institute’s efforts to further the aerospace industry. Its hard work complements the Marshall Center commitment to advance NASA’s mission and the Vision for Space Exploration.” The Vision calls for a safe return of the space shuttle to flight, completion of the International Space Station, and a return to the moon and exploration of Mars and beyond.

In 2005, King was awarded the Presidential Rank Award for Distinguished Executives. As the highest honor attainable for government work, the award recognizes a select group of senior federal executives for outstanding leadership and service in some of the most critical positions in federal government. In 2001, King received the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Executives, which acknowledges high-performing senior career employees for long-term accomplishments.

King was recognized in 2000 and 2004 with the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal for notable outstanding leadership affecting technical or administrative agency programs. In 1996, he received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal, granted for significant sustained performance and characterized by unusual initiative or creative ability.

As director of the Marshall Center, King heads one of NASA’s largest field installations, with more than 7,000 civil service and contractor employees and an annual budget of approximately $2.3 billion. Named to the position in 2003, he manages a broad range of propulsion, scientific and space transportation activities contributing to NASA’s Vision for Space Exploration.

Prior to his appointment as director, King served as deputy director of the Marshall Center from 2002 until 2003. During this period, he played a key role in NASA’s Space Shuttle Columbia recovery operations based in Lufkin, Texas, in 2003. He served as the senior on-site NASA official, directing efforts to search for clues and recover debris from the Feb. 1, 2003, accident.

King joined NASA in 1983 as a main propulsion system engineer at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. He held numerous managerial and leadership positions at Kennedy, including deputy director of shuttle processing in 1996; shuttle launch director in 1997; and director of shuttle processing in 1999. King again assumed the responsibilities of shuttle launch director in 1999, overseeing six space shuttle launches, including missions to the Russian space station Mir, the International Space Station and a repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.

A native of Sumter, S.C., King earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of South Carolina in Columbia in 1983 and a master’s degree in business administration from the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne in 1991.

King and his wife Lisa reside in Madison with their two daughters.