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Hildner was Director of NOAA's Space Environment Center from 1986 until he retired in 2005. The Center (now renamed Space Weather Prediction Center) is the nation's 24-hour-a-day center for alerts, warnings and watches related to space weather; it also accumulates for archive much data relating to space weather. Under his direction, SEC conducted research and consulted on space weather instrument development for NOAA, NASA, and the US Air Force. Hildner led the Center's transition from a laboratory in NOAA Research into an operational National Center for Environmental Prediction in NOAA's National Weather Service. Hildner is a solar physicist who has worked for the High Altitude Observatory, NCAR, and for NASA Marshall Space Flight Center as Chief of its Solar Physics Branch. He was Experiment Scientist for telescopes on NASA's Skylab and Solar Maximum Missions during the 1970's. His scientific specialty is coronal and interplanetary physics. In addition to his administrative responsibilities with NOAA, including being NOAA's Program Manager for Space Weather, Hildner was a Co-chair of the Committee on Space Weather for the seven-agency National Space Weather Program of the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology, a member of the advisory committees for the NOAO National Solar Observatory and NCAR High Altitude Observatory, and served on review panels for NASA and DoD projects.