Mr. Peter G. Wilhelm

Director, Naval Center for Space Technology

Mr. Peter G. Wilhelm
" Purdue’s reputation as a top engineering university clearly helped open doors for me. Some of my professors convinced me that I could be pretty good at being an engineer, which gave me a lot of confidence. My career at the Naval Research Lab has been, and continues to be, very rewarding. The satellite programs that I have been able to work on have been a great benefit to our country and society in general, which is the greatest reward an engineer can ask for."
Peter G. Wilhelm (BSEE ’57) joined the satellite techniques branch of the Naval Research Laboratory in 1959. By 1974, he was the head of the Spacecraft Technology Center. Through varied positions along the way, he performed satellite system design, equipment development, environmental testing, launch operations and orbital data handling.  In 1981, he was named superintendent of the Space Systems and Technology Division, the Navy’s lead laboratory for space. He is credited with contributions in the design, development, and operation of 99 scientific and Fleet-support satellites.  He has been awarded five patents.  

In October 1986, Mr. Wilhelm assumed his current position, director of the Naval Center for Space Technology (NCST). The Center’s mission is to “preserve and enhance a strong space technology base and provide expert assistance in the development and acquisition of space systems which support naval missions.” The Center is the only Defense Department (DOD) facility that has its own in-house capability to design, fabricate and fully qualify spacecraft.

Mr. Wilhelm’s awards include the Navy’s Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the DOD’s Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the Presidential Meritorious Executive Award and numerous other awards. Mr. Wilhelm is an elected Fellow of the Washington Academy of Sciences and a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. In 1997, he was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering (NAE).