When the day comes for the Ares I Vehicle to replace the current space shuttle, Dave Tilson will have bragging rights-he helped make it happen.

As a general engineer in the command's Technical Interoperability and Matrix Center, or TIMC, Tilson was a team leader this summer for 30 NASA engineers to develop preliminary design for the Ares I Vehicle Integration. One phase of the program will deliver people to space; the other will deliver cargo, according to Tilson.

In a recent letter to TIMC Director Debra Wymer, the Ares project manager at NASA praised Tilson for his leadership. "Having well-qualified, independent review team leaders of Mr. Tilson's caliber was a major factor in the success of this critical systems engineering milestone event," Stephen Cook said.

"We appreciate Mr. Tilson's contributions...and look forward to working together in the future as the Ares I Team continues to make progress toward delivering a new capability for America's human exploration of space," he added.

Tilson, whose background is civil engineering, has worked as a general engineer at the US Army Space & Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command since 1992.