Walther Pelzer has been a Member of the DLR Executive Board since 1 January 2018. He is Head of the German Space Agency at DLR, based in Bonn.
Born in 1967, Walther Pelzer studied mechanical engineering at RWTH Aachen University and went on to complete a doctorate on the topic of 'Methodology for Identifying and Exploiting Strategic Technology Potential' at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology. From 1999 to 2002, Pelzer was responsible for a variety of tasks in the areas of investment and value-creation management, strategy and technology control for Degussa AG in Frankfurt am Main and Hanau, and Ferro Corporation in Washington (USA). He then completed a correspondence MBA in Zürich, St. Gallen and Bonn from 2005 to 2008. Between 2002 and 2007, Pelzer was a managing director in the automotive supplier industry (sports cars to Formula One) and the aviation industry in Austria and the United States.
In 2007, Walther Pelzer moved to Düsseldorf to accept a position in the Department of Research and Technology at the Ministry for Innovation, Science and Research of the State of North-Rhine Westphalia. Among other things, his remit included biotechnology, energy and climate research, mobility and logistics, patents, start-ups, Forschungszentrum Jülich and DLR. Pelzer was head of the AVR GmbH project group from 2008, where he was responsible for dismantling and disposing of the AVR experimental reactor and its fuel elements. He was also the appointed as the representative of the state government charged with returning the fuel elements to the USA. Pelzer was the Permanent Representative of the Head of Department from 2015 onwards.
Walther Pelzer has held a variety of guest lectures and seminars at universities focusing on the issues of balanced scorecards, technology management, innovations based on technology platforms and working with subsidiaries in the USA.
The German Space Agency at DLR is responsible for the planning and implementation of the German space programme at the national, European and international level on behalf of the German government. In addition to the national space programme, this includes German contributions to the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT). The principal client of the German Space Agency at DLR is the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie; BMWi).