NEWS | Nov. 3, 2011

Purdue University Honors Peter Wilhelm with Alumni Award

By Donna McKinney

Purdue University has honored Mr. Peter Wilhelm with its Outstanding Electrical and Computer Engineer award. This award, established in 1992 and presented by the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, recognizes Purdue University alumni who have demonstrated exemplary accomplishments, leadership and service to the community. From a field of 20,000 alumni, only 188 have received this award. The award was presented in a ceremony held on September 30.

With more than 50 years of federal service, Wilhelm currently serves as Director of the Naval Center for Space Technology (NCST) at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). In this position, he provides technical and managerial leadership to enhance a strong space technology base and provide expert assistance in the development and acquisition of space systems, which support naval missions. The NCST recently launched its 100th satellite called TacSat 4, in late September.

The activities of the Naval Center for Space Technology extend from basic and applied research through advanced development in all areas of Navy space program interest. These activities include developing spacecraft, systems using these spacecraft, and ground command and control stations.

Wilhelm received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 1957. He has received numerous honors and awards, including the Pioneer of National Reconnaissance, 2000; Presidential Distinguished Rank Award, 1999; AIAA Goddard Astronautics Award, 1999; The Secretary of the Navy Career Service Award, 1999; DOD Distinguished Civilian Service Award, 1998, 2010; NRL Lifetime Achievement Award, 1998; National Academy of Engineering, 1997; NRL's Roger L. Easton Award for Engineering, 1997; Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundations Stellar Award for Program Management, 1993; Robert J. Collier Award (Team Award), 1992; Elected a Fellow of AIAA, 1989; Presidential Rank Award - Meritorious Executive, 1988; CAPT Robert Dexter Conrad Medal (Navy's highest Award for Scientific Achievement), 1987; E.O. Hulburt Award (NRL's highest award for Science - first and only engineer to win this award), 1983; Navy's Space Systems Program Achievement Award, 1985; IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Group Man-of-the-Year Award, 1981; Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation for Development, Acquisition and Operation of Space Systems, 1977 to 1981; Elected Fellow of Washington Academy of Science, 1971; Navy Award of Merit and Special Achievement, 1976; Navy Unit Commendation for Exceptional Meritorious Service, 1974 to 1976; Navy Distinguished Civilian Service Award, 1971; and the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award, 1962.

In other activities, Wilhelm has lectured on NRL's Space Program at U.S. Space Foundation's annual Conference - Plenary Session, 1996; lectured on Hybrid Assisted Reusable Launch VEhicle (HARVE) design @ Joint Conference on Reducing Cost of Space Systems, 1995; chaired NASA's Origins External Review Board (OERB), 1996 and 1997; served on NRC Study on Reusable Launch Vehicle, 1995; chaired American Astronautical Societies (AAS) Guidance and Control Conference, 1995; served on Congressionally mandated Launch Mobilization Study - determined U.S. policy on launch issues, 1994; and served as a member of the Mars Observer Failure Review Board, 1993.

He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a Fellow of the Washington Academy of Science.