Tim Pickens

Tim Pickens has dedicated his career to developing and delivering aerospace hardware solutions to facilitate affordable and responsive space access. He is an inventor, serial entrepreneur, innovator, designer, and educator, primarily focused on firm fixed price aerospace solutions. Pickens is known for applying a lean philosophy to develop creative solutions and innovative partnerships to provide responsive, low-cost products and services. His 25-plus years of experience in the aerospace industry, specializing in the design, fabrication and testing of propulsion hardware systems, has earned him a reputation as one of the industry’s leaders in these areas. He has led development of liquid and hybrid rocket motors ranging from five to 375,000 pounds of thrust.


Pickens is the founder, CEO, and CTO of Pickens Innovations in Madison, Alabama. His latest endeavor is not a launch vehicle company, but an affordable supplier and partner with a very focused and proven business charter. Pickens has created tangible corporate value since 2013, leading to the sale of two divisions of his company to two different buyers over the last four years.


The Pickens Innovations charter is to provide amazing aerospace fluid components at cost points that are not achievable within the constructs of larger heritage companies which are stuck in overhead rates that now are exponentially driving their costs up. Pickens Innovations is making R&D new product investments to ultimately "sell shovels to the New Space miners."


Products and services include high voltage exciters that offer software/hardware defined operation parameter tuning with diagnostic options. Specialties include torch igniters, roll control systems (RCS), hybrid and liquid propulsion, and related fluid systems. From fluid component development to conception to AS9100 production using competitive manufacturing partners to optimize product cost, Pickens Innovations also specializes in ground support equipment, i.e., test stands and fluid systems. 


Tim founded Orion Propulsion, a Huntsville aerospace company, in 2004, and sold it to Dynetics in 2009 after growing it to 40 employees and $6.4 million. Orion received multiple Small Business awards and became AS9100-certified to build man-rated flight hardware. Before founding Orion, Tim was lead propulsion engineer on SpaceShipOne, the $10 million Ansari X Prize winner, and worked for hardware-rich aerospace companies. He has led multiple amateur rocket design efforts.


Broadcast 3112 Tim Pickens

Guest:  Tim Pickens;  Topics: Pickens Innovation products & philosophy, skilled aerospace labor concerns, space entrepreneurism, Musk leadership, aerospace careers, valves, 3D printing & more.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website, www.thespaceshow.com.   Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program.

Broadcast 1827 (Special Edition)

Guest: Tim Pickens. Topics: Pickens Innovations, commercial space, space economics & policy. You are invited to comment, ask questions, and discuss the Space Show program/guest(s) on the Space Show blog, http://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments, questions, and any discussion must be relevant and applicable to Space Show programming. Transcripts of Space Show programs are not permitted without prior written consent from The Space Show (even if for personal use) & are a violation of the Space Show copyright.

Broadcast 1425 (Special Edition)

Guest: Tim Pickens. Topics: Dynetics, rocket propulsion, space policy, and more. We welcomed Tim Pickens back to the program for the first time since he sold his company, Orion Propulsion, to Dynetics, Inc. Please note that you are invited to comment, ask questions, and rate this program on the new Space Show blog, http://thespaceshowoutsidethebox.blogspot.com. In our first segment, Tim started out talking about the need to have fun in business but that fun is not a business or policy entitlement.

Broadcast 1176 (Special Edition)

Guest: Tim Pickens. Topics: Orion Propulsion, Inc, rockets, commercial space, NewSpace, business models and risks. Tim Pickens, President of Orion Propulsion, Inc. in Huntsville, AL was the guest for today's Space Show program. Tim started the discussion by updating us on some of the Orion project which can be found on their website at www.orionpropulsion.com. Of the projects discussed, we spent most of our time on the Bigelow Aerospace Sundancer program and the Boeing Ares 1 first and second stage RCS.

Broadcast 551 (Special Edition)

Tim Pickens returned to The Space Show to discuss updates with Orion Propulsion, space developments, commercial space business basics, and much more. In addition to understanding the success behind Tim and Orion, we talked about COTS, CEV, budgets, Congress, etc. Tim discussed in some detail his role with Space Ship 1 and its development. We talked about hybrid engines as well as methane engines and getting commercial customers, financing, investment and the overall commercial space market as it exists today in 2006.

Broadcast 357 (Special Edition)

Tim Pickens returned to The Space Show for this program to discuss new developments with his company, Orion Propulsion www.orionpropulsion.com/main.php?orionprop=1). We began the interview discussing new developments with Orion including proposals for the Hybrid Launch Vehicle program, development of igniters and RCS thrusters for the t/Space crew vehicle and the work the company is doing for the AirLaunch, LTD. program. Mr.

Broadcast 156 (Special Edition)

Tim Pickens is currently a propulsion engineer for Plasma Processes and is a consultant to Burt Rutan and Scaled Composites with SpaceShipOne. Mr. Pickens explains rocket propulsion during this program, the advantages and disadvantages of various rocket fuels, he talks at length about the sub-orbital industry, and he discusses his experiences with Scaled Composites and the SpaceShipOne. We also talk about space vision, RLVs, government, amateur rocketry, and rocket powered bicycles.

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