The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is pleased to announce the 2022 AIAA Durand Lectureship for Public Service is awarded to William H. Gerstenmaier, Vice President, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX. Gerstenmaier will deliver his lecture, “Human Spaceflight – The Ultimate Team Sport,” Monday, 3 January, 1250 hrs PT, during the 2022 AIAA SciTech Forum, San Diego and online, 3–7 January. Registration is still open to attend in San Diego in person, or online. Journalists can request a Press Pass here.


The Durand Lecture for Public Service, named in honor of William F. Durand, Ph.D., is presented for notable achievements by a scientific or technical leader whose contributions have led directly to the understanding and application of the science and technology of aeronautics and astronautics for the betterment of humanity. Durand was a United States naval officer and a pioneer in mechanical engineering. During his remarkable 99-year life, Durand contributed significantly to the development of aircraft propellers. He was the first civilian chair of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the forerunner of NASA.


The Institute’s Public Policy Committee takes pride in selecting accomplished leaders in aeronautics and astronautics for this honor who can share their knowledge through the Durand Lecture for Public Service.


Gerstenmaier leads SpaceX’s quality engineering and process development teams, oversees the launch readiness process, and serves as Chief Engineer on select missions. Prior to joining SpaceX, Gerstenmaier served as the associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. He began his career at NASA in 1977, at the then Lewis Research Center in Cleveland. Throughout the next 40 years, he oversaw programs at NASA (such as the Orbital Maneuvering Vehicle (OMV) Operations); led the Space Shuttle/Space Station Freedom Assembly Operations; served as Shuttle/Mir Program operations manager; managed the Space Shuttle Program Integration; and served as the ISS Program manager. Named associate administrator for the Space Operations Directorate in 2005, Gerstenmaier directed the safe completion of the last 21 Space Shuttle missions that witnessed assembly completion of the International Space Station.


Gerstenmaier is an Honorary Fellow of AIAA, having been a member of AIAA since the 1990s. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering from Purdue University, as well as a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and an honorary Ph.D. in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering from the University of Toledo. He was elected into the 2018 class of the National Academy of Engineering.


For more information about the AIAA Honors and Awards program, contact Patricia A. Carr at


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Media Contact: Rebecca B. Gray, APR,, 804.397.5270 (cell)


About AIAA

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest aerospace technical society. With nearly 30,000 individual members from 91 countries, and 100 corporate members, AIAA brings together industry, academia, and government to advance engineering and science in aviation, space, and defense. For more information, visit, and follow AIAA on TwitterFacebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.