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Pete Lillehei

Title: Branch Head

Technical Focus Area: Nanotechnology, Lightweight Materials, Advanced Manufacturing

Study Topics/Expertise: Technology Strategy & Roadmapping, Establishing Policy & Strategic Guides, Leveraging & Integrating Resources, Evaluating Impact & Tracking Research Progress, Performance Assessment​​​​​​​

Pete Lillehei is the Branch Head for the Vehicle Analysis Branch in the Systems Analysis and Concepts Directorate at NASA Langley Research Center, managing a workforce that performs systems analysis and concept development of high-speed atmospheric and space transportation systems.

Pete previously served as the Acting Deputy Center Chief Technologist and provided technical leadership for the strategic planning, management, and evaluation of innovative, early-stage development activities and facilitated the development of the Strategic Technology Investment Plan to guide the solicitation of transformative ideas. 

He also served as a Space Technology Mission Directorate Principal Investigator/Principal Technologist for the technology domain of Space Materials, Structures and Manufacturing and provided technical leadership and strategy guidance for the projects, helping foster ties to other organizations within NASA and to agency partners. 

Other positions included Business Development Manager and Project Liaison within the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, responsible for upholding the technical integrity and innovative approach of projects by providing technical and project management direction and support, focusing on internal project planning, incubation, execution, and transition of aeronautics systems concepts. He was responsible for market analysis, opportunity identification and qualification, customer relationships, oversight of a portfolio of opportunities, and business capture.

Within the Advanced Materials and Processing Branch, his role was to develop new instruments, tools and techniques to characterize nanocomposite materials via scanning probe and electron microscopy. 

Pete has more than 30 refereed publications and seven patents. 

He received a Reid Award and a Whitcomb Holloway Award for his contributions to nanocomposite development.


  • Doctorate in Analytical Chemistry, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, University of Minnesota
  • Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering, University of Minnesota

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