Dr. William F. Ballhaus

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Dr. William F. Ballhaus, Jr.

Photo of Dr. William F. Ballhaus, Jr.

President and Chief Executive Officer (Ret.)
The Aerospace Corporation

Dr. Ballhaus is the former president and chief executive officer of The Aerospace Corporation, an independent, nonprofit organization dedicated to the objective application of science and technology toward the solution of critical issues in the nation's space program. Aerospace has over 4,000 employees and annual sales of  $870M.  He retired from the company on December 31, 2007.  During the time Dr. Ballhaus led the Aerospace Corporation, there were no failures in over 50 launches of Air Force and National Reconnaissance Office satellite systems for which Aerospace had accountability for independent verification of launch readiness.

Dr. Ballhaus joined Aerospace as president in September 2000 after an 11-year career with Lockheed Martin Corporation. He was named CEO of Aerospace on May 1, 2001.

At Lockheed Martin Dr. Ballhaus served as corporate officer and vice president, Engineering and Technology. In this position he was responsible for advancing the company's scientific and engineering capabilities, and for overseeing engineering and technology functions.

Prior to his tenure with Lockheed Martin, Dr. Ballhaus served as president of two Martin Marietta businesses, Aero and Naval Systems (Baltimore, 1993–1994), and Civil Space and Communications (Denver, 1990–1993). He also was vice president and program director of Titan IV Centaur operations at Martin Marietta Space Launch Systems (Denver, 1990). Before joining Martin Marietta, Dr. Ballhaus served as director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Ames Research Center at Moffett Field and Edwards Air Force Base, California (1984–1989). He also served as acting associate administrator for Aeronautics and Space Technology at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. (1988–1989).

Dr. Ballhaus held several other positions at NASA Ames, including director of Astronautics (1980–1984) and chief of the Applied Computational Aerodynamics Branch (1979). As a research scientist at Ames (1971–1978), Dr. Ballhaus published more than 40 papers on computational aerodynamics.

He is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley where he earned a Ph.D. in engineering and bachelor's and master's degrees in mechanical engineering.

Dr. Ballhaus has participated in a number of national level independent reviews of troubled space and missile programs.  For example, he served on President Clinton's Broad Area Review of the six launch system failures that occurred in 1998-9.  He also served on the Defense Science Board study on the Acquisition of National Security Space Programs and on the Missile Defense Agency Independent Review of missile defense system test failures in the mid 2000s.


Dr. Ballhaus is an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and served as AIAA president for the 1988–1989 term. He also is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and completed serving a second three-year term as a councilor of the academy in June 2007.  He is a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and the American Astronautical Society, and is a member of the International Academy of Astronautics.

Dr. Ballhaus serves on the Board of the Charles Stark Draper Laboratory and is Chairman of the Board of the Space Foundation.  He also serves on the Board of OSI Systems.   Dr. Ballhaus is a member of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Advisory Council. In addition, he serves as a member of the science or engineering advisory boards at the University of Southern California and UCLA. He previously has served on the boards of Sandia Corporation (Sandia National Laboratories), Energy Research Corporation (Oak Ridge National Lab), MIT Lincoln Laboratory and others.

Dr. Ballhaus served on the Defense Science Board from 2002 to 2009 and on the Air Force Scientific Advisory Board from 1994 to 2001, and was board co-chair from 1996 to1999. He also served on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Science Advisory Board (2006-2010).   He is a member of the NASA Advisory Council and chairs its Technology and Innovation Committee.

Awards and Honors

Dr. Ballhaus's awards and honors include the

  • Presidential Ranks of Distinguished Executive and Meritorious Executive, both conferred by President Ronald Reagan
  • NASA Distinguished Service Medal
  • National Intelligence Medallion from the Director of National Intelligence
  • National Reconnaissance Office Gold Medal
  • Air Force Exceptional Civilian Service Medal
  • Air Force Scroll of Appreciation
  • Air Force Association's Gen. Bernard A. Schriever Award for Space Leadership
  • National Defense Industrial Association's (NDIA) Peter B. Teets Award for championing the advancement of national-security space
  • NDIA Bob Hope Distinguished Citizen Award
  • Distinguished Engineering Alumnus Award from UC Berkeley
  • AIAA's Lawrence Sperry Award
  • AIAA Von Karman Lectureship
  • Arthur S. Flemming Award from the Washington, D.C., Junior Chamber of Commerce
  • Distinguished Executive Service Award from the Senior Executives Association
  • Election to the NASA- Ames Hall of Fame
  • Eminent Engineer Award from Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society at UC Berkeley.
  • H. Julian Allen Award for the outstanding paper published by a member of the technical staff at NASA Ames Research Center


Dr. Ballhaus and his wife, Jane, are the parents of four children, and they have eight grandchildren.

Page Last Updated: April 11th, 2014
Page Editor: Ron Mochinski