The National Space Society is mourning the passing of NSS Board of Governors member Peter E. Glaser on May 29, 2014.
Dr. Peter E. Glaser was Vice President for Advanced Technology at Arthur D. Little, Inc., Cambridge, MA, a company that he was associated with from 1955-1994. After his retirement in 1994, he continued to serve as a consultant to the company for many years.
Dr. Glaser is best known as the inventor of the Solar Power Satellite concept, which he first presented in the journal Science for November 22, 1968 (“Power from the Sun: It’s Future”). In 1973 he was granted a U.S. patent on the Solar Power Satellite to supply power from space for use on the Earth.
Born in Czechoslovakia, Glaser was a survivor of the Holocaust who came to the United States in 1948 and earned an M.S. and a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering at Columbia University.
Dr. Glaser was project manager for the Apollo 11 Laser Ranging Retroreflecter Array installed on the lunar surface of July 20, 1969, and two other arrays installed on subsequent missions — the only science experiments still in operation on the Moon. He also was responsible for the Lunar Heat Flow Probes and the Lunar Gravimeter which were operational during the Apollo program, and the Initial Blood Storage Experiment flown on the NASA shuttle Columbia (STS-61-C) in January 1986, to explore gravitational effects on human blood cells.
Dr. Glaser served on several NASA Committees including Task Force on Space Goals, NASA Advisory Council (1984-1989), and Lunar Enterprise Case Study (1988-89). He formed the SUNSAT Energy Council in 1978; an NGO associated with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and currently serves as its Chairman. He also chaired the Space Power Committee of the International Astronautical Federation (1984-89). He has served on committees of the National Academy of Sciences and the Office of Technology Assessment of the United States Congress.
Dr. Glaser was President of the International Solar Energy Society (1968-69), and was the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Solar Energy (1971-1984). Dr. Glaser received the Farrington Daniels Award from the International Solar Energy Society in 1983.
He is a fellow of the American Association of the Advancement of Science and the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics, and a member of the International Academy of Astronautics. In 1993 the International Astronautical Federation established the Peter Glaser Plenary Lecture to be given at the Annual Congresses. He was inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame of the United States Space Foundation in 1996. Dr. Glaser has published more than 300 technical papers and books. His personal collection, the Peter E. Glaser Papers, have been donated to the MIT Archives and Special Collections.