FALLS CHURCH, Va., Oct. 12, 2021 -- The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics has awarded CENTRA Senior Technical Advisor Walter Rutledge, Ph.D., the Wright Brothers Lecture in Aeronautics Award. The recognition gave Rutledge an opportunity to present his lecture, “Hypersonics for National Security: Conventional Prompt Strike,” to aerospace peers at a classified AIAA forum in September.
“I’m very humbled by this award,” Rutledge said. “My colleagues were very nice to put my name in for this and I feel like I’m a spokesperson for the national effort. I was just in a leadership position at the right time to make that happen. This was very much a team effort.”
PAE Interim President and CEO Charlie Peiffer said the award highlights the unique technical capabilities of one of its most recent acquisitions, CENTRA Technology.
“I congratulate Walt for this prestigious award that recognizes his many contributions to the study of boost-glide,” Peiffer said. “Because of his research and its defense applications, our world is safer and more secure.”
Rutledge is an expert in hypersonics, which focuses on the flight of aerospace vehicles at speeds at or greater than Mach 5. More than two decades ago, he and his colleagues at Sandia National Laboratories began researching boost-glide flight, then a relatively new area of hypersonics research.
“Through flight test demonstrations, we were able to prove that the concept of boost-glide was feasible and something that would be very valuable to the warfighter,” Rutledge said.
With more than 40 years working in aerospace technology, Rutledge served as the program manager for early boost-glide concept studies, conducted by Sandia for the U.S. Department of Defense. This research included modeling, simulation, ground tests, experiments and flight testing, laying the groundwork for the Pentagon to begin investing in hypersonic boost-glide weapon systems.
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