Tim Pickens is an inventor, entrepreneur, innovator, engineer and educator. He is Vice President of Propulsion for Moon Express, a privately funded lunar transportation and data services company created to establish new avenues for commercial space activities beyond Earth orbit. He most recently served as Commercial Space Advisor and Chief Propulsion Engineer for Huntsville, Alabama-based Dynetics.

Tim founded Orion Propulsion, a Huntsville aerospace company, in 2004 and sold it to Dynetics in 2009 after growing it to a 40-employee, $6.4 million business. Within five years, Orion had received multiple Small Business awards and become AS9100 certified to build man-rated flight hardware. Before founding Orion, Tim worked for small hardware-rich aerospace companies in Huntsville, as well as serving as lead propulsion engineer for Scaled Composites on SpaceShipOne, winner of the $10 million Ansari X Prize.

Popular for his inspiring, genuine and humorous speaking style, Tim is recruited to give presentations at business, space and motivational conferences all over the country. He has also been featured in national media for his inventions and innovative accomplishments.

Tim has received numerous awards for business and technical accomplishments.

Tim’s hobbies include building things – like rocket-powered vehicles – in his Man Cave. His passion for rockets began when he was a small child in Huntsville and continued into his adult life as a serious hobby. He led multiple amateur rocket design efforts in his garage for community service and recreational clubs and worked as an independent aerospace consultant at night and on weekends. He had a long-time interest in studying applied engineering and science, but the desire to own and operate a space company would drive him to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

Recent Posts

Will the Rocket Truck Fly for the Rocket City Rednecks? Find out Thursday!

I am excited about being invited on the Rocket City Rednecks (RCRN) episode that will air this Thursday night at 9 pm EST on the National Geographic Channel. Travis Taylor called me back in the summer and asked me if I wanted to help them on a very special project related to moving a HUMVEE out of a dangerous situation by using a hybrid rocket engine. This sounded very interesting. If anyone knows much about me, they know that I love to push anything with a rocket engine/motor. The cool thing about doing ground vehicles is that you are not constrained by low safety margins and high performance criteria like is the case for vertical launch systems. The other cool thing that I find appealing is that man- or woman-driven rocket-powered vehicles allow people/friends to see how cool rockets can be up close and personal. This experience does not require them to go to a launch at the Cape in Florida and does not require that I get an FAA waiver.

I was inspired to build my first rocket bike by Glen May, who loved the idea of experiencing rocket-powered anything. He wanted to see barnstorming as a way to get people excited again about space travel and rocketry at a very grass roots level. Glen’s passion would drive him to help Hal5 with our amateur space shot on SL2. That was a balloon launched rocket. Glen gave much work vacation to be part of our team in Huntsville. He later would follow me to Mojave to do critical technician work on SpaceShipOne. He and I were roommates and had a blast while I served as Lead Propulsion Engineer.  He knew what it was like for me to manage two propulsion companies for the fuel and injector for SS1. He likened it to me “herding cats”! That was a great analogy. We lost Glen during a cold flow nitrous test at Scaled in 2007. This was a sad passing. Glen was a great guy with a great passion for space.

I want to dedicate this “Hybrid Rocket Truck Build” to Glen May and all the guys from Orion who helped make it happen. There were those behind the scenes, too! Many volunteers. Nothing complex and dynamic can happen on a large scale without a great team! I want to thank the team! You know who you are. Thanks to Don Miller and the Miltec Team for providing the seed money to build this rocket motor back in 2006 when Orion was just getting started.


I hope you enjoy the show!

  1. Hanging Out with Paul Allen Comments Off
  2. Rover Talk in Huntsville Comments Off
  3. Propulsion with Kids Comments Off
  4. A Tribute to Neil Armstrong Comments Off
  5. Space in Vegas Comments Off
  6. Experiencing Commercial Space Up Close and Personal Comments Off
  7. Practicing Innovation Comments Off
  8. What do I read Comments Off
  9. Man Cave Phase 2 progress Comments Off
  10. Man Cave phase 1 finished Comments Off
  11. Going Back to My Roots Comments Off
  12. We Are The Rocket City Space Pioneers Comments Off
  13. The Past Meets the Future at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center Comments Off
  14. Engineering Meets Education Kick-off Meeting Comments Off
  15. A Week of Excitement for the Space World and the Rocket City Space Pioneers Comments Off
  16. Inspiring Young People to Dream and Achieve Comments Off
  17. RCSP Dynetics Launches FASTSAT with Fun Party Comments Off
  18. Rocket City Space Pioneers Announce Partnership with the Huntsville Center for Technology Comments Off
  19. Catch a Ride on Our Mission Comments Off