William H. Gerstenmaier

International Space Station Program
BSAAE 1977

“I have been very fortunate throughout my career in receiving challenging and exciting assignments. I have continually been learning both formally through additional course work and informally through work assignments and associations with colleagues. Going back to Purdue in mid-career for additional course work was challenging and humbling and provided a tremendous chance to retool technical capabilities.”

William Gerstenmaier began his career with NASA at the Lewis Research Center. There he served as an aeronautical research engineer, performing wind tunnel tests associated with jet engines and the Space Shuttle. In 1980, Gerstenmaier transferred to the Johnson Space Center in Houston and served as Space Shuttle flight propulsion controller.

He received his first managerial assignment for the Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle Project in 1988. In 1995, he became operations manager in Moscow for the first phase of the Shuttle/Mir Program, serving as the primary interface to the Russian Space Agency for operational issues. In 1998, Gerstenmaier was named manager, Space Shuttle Program Integration, responsible for the overall management, integration and operations of the Space Shuttle Program.

In December 2000, Gerstenmaier was named deputy manager, International Space Station Program, and in June 2002, he was named manager. He is responsible for the overall management, development and operations of the International Space Station, overseeing an annual budget of $1.5 billion and a workforce of 8,000.

Gerstenmaier, who received his master’s in aeronautics and astronautics from Purdue in 1977, received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal in 2001, the NASA Exceptional Service Medal in 1992 and 1999, the Aviation Week & Space Technology’s Laureate Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Space in 1996 and 2003.