Peter Wilhelm Elected a Member of the National Academy of Engineering

4/14/1997 - 17-97r
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Mr. Peter Wilhelm, Director of the Naval Center for Space Technology (NCST) at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Mr. Wilhelm was cited for his career contributions to the U.S. space program.

Election to the NAE is one of the most significant professional distinctions accorded an engineer and honors those who have made important contributions to engineering theory and practice as well as demonstrated unusual accomplishment in pioneering new and developing fields of technology. NAE has a total U.S. membership of 1,893 and 153 foreign associate members, and 85 new members will be added at ceremonies to be held in October 1997.

Mr. Wilhelm, who has directed the NCST since its inception in 1986, has been with NRL since March 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 82 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, head of the Spacecraft Technology Center. In these positions, he 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 Naval Center for Space technology, 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 Man of the Year Award, NRL's E. O. Hulburt Annual Science and Engineering Award, the Robert Dexter Conrad Award, and the Rotary National Stellar Award. He is a fellow of the Washington Academy of Sciences and of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

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