Mr. Peter Wilhelm Receives AIAA Goddard Astronautics Award

5/6/1999 - 15-99r
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Mr. Peter Wilhelm, Director of the Naval Center for Space Technology (NCST) at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), was presented with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics' (AIAA) 1999 Goddard Astronautics Award. This award is the oldest AIAA tribute for notable achievement in the field of astronautics and is named in the honor of Mr. Robert H. Goddard, "a rocket pioneer whose early liquid rocket engine launches opened up the world of astronautics." The award was presented to Mr. Wilhelm at an AIAA ceremony on May 5, 1999.

Mr. Wilhelm was cited for "extraordinary engineering, astute leadership, and zealous dedication to excellence in responding to the needs and advancing the technology of the United States Space Program."

Mr. Wilhelm, who has directed the NCST since its inception in 1986, has been with NRL since 1959. Under his direction, NCST and the Navy have achieved numerous successes and "firsts" in space including the first Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite and the highly successful Clementine Deep Space Mission, which demonstrated the capability of, and has become the model for, low-cost, high-value space exploration. Mr. Wilhelm's achievements include contributions to the design, development and operation of 87 scientific and fleet-support satellites.

Mr. Wilhelm began his career in 1957 as an electrical engineer with Stewart Warner Electronics where he was assigned to a project to redesign the UPM-70, a Navy radar test set. In March 1959, he joined NRL as an electronics engineer in the Electronics Division. In December 1959, he joined the Satellite Techniques Branch; in 1961, he became head of the Satellite Instrument Section; in 1965, he became head of the Satellite Techniques Branch; and in 1974, he was designated head of the Spacecraft Technology Center. In these positions, he has performed satellite system design, equipment development, environmental testing, launch operations, and orbital data handling. In 1981, Mr. Wilhelm was named the superintendent of the Space Systems and Technology Division. In October 1986, he was appointed director of the newly-established NCST, the Navy's lead laboratory for space.

Mr. Wilhelm has been recognized with numerous awards including the Navy's Meritorious Senior Executive Award; the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' Aerospace and Electronic Systems Group's Man of the Year Award; NRL's E. O. Hulburt Annual Science and Engineering Award; the Robert Dexter Conrad Award; the Rotary National Stellar Award; the Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award; the Presidential Rank, Meritorious Executive Award; and the Roger L. Easton Award for Engineering Excellence. Recently, he received the Department of Defense's Distinguished Civilian Service Award. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the Washington Academy of Sciences and of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

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