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Pickens Innovations Expands R&D, Testing Capabilities

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
August 18, 2016
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Hot fire cells 1 and 2 (Credit: Pickens Innovations)

Hot fire cells 1 and 2 (Credit: Pickens Innovations)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala., Aug. 17, 2016 (PI PR) – Tim Pickens, a Huntsville aerospace professional and serial entrepreneur, announced today that the most recent company he founded, Pickens Innovations (PI), has expanded its research and development (R&D) and test capabilities for aerospace and commercial product markets.

Pickens founded Orion Propulsion, a Huntsville aerospace company in 2004 and sold it to Dynetics in 2009, and he sold his first Pickens Innovations R&D and test capability in 2014 to a Silicon Valley space start-up company.

PI is an aerospace and commercial product-driven company, structured to quickly deliver affordable technical solutions through proven experience and success. “We subscribe to proven engineering solutions that have historically been successful, while applying the latest technology when it makes sense to deliver the best value,” Pickens said.

Research and development shop (Credit: Pickens Innovations)

Research and development shop (Credit: Pickens Innovations)

PI offers design/analysis, R&D and product development in such areas as liquid propulsion, air breathing propulsion, fluid and pressurization systems and related components, launch vehicle design and related analysis.

In the area of fabrication, PI manufactures complex propulsion and combustion devices, fluid components and specialized test and ground support equipment, as well as turnkey data/control computer systems that support flexible test environments, using the latest National Instrument CompactRIO and LabVIEW suites. The test facility contains two proven test cells capable of testing a wide range of combustion devices. The facility was recently approved to support various programs using propellants such as LOX, high test peroxide (HTP), nitrous oxide, RP-1, alcohol, etc.

Tim Pickens with a model of SpaceShipOne (Credit: Pickens Innovations)

Tim Pickens with a model of SpaceShipOne (Credit: Pickens Innovations)

PI offers advanced manufacturing or small prototype and fabrication, as well as large-scale fabrication. The facilities include fluid systems, manufacturing equipment and a clean room to support assembly of critical components.

“We have made significant recent investments to create a flexible R&D and test capability to enable efficiency in the design, build and testing of hardware,” said Pickens. “PI can deliver products from concept up to AS9100.

“We are excited to have an on-site relationship with Consumer Fuels Inc. (CFI) that provides us with a manpower surge capacity and additional manufacturing capabilities required for some projects,” Pickens continued. “Our facility is very configuration- and manufacturing-flexible. Our contractor relationship with CFI is designed to keep our overhead low, resulting in lean operations that we can pass on to our customers in the form of affordable solutions.”

The PI complex is equipped to provide a lean productive environment for aerospace design, development and test services for government and commercial customers, Pickens explained. “We are looking forward to continuing our wonderful working relationship with our NASA and DoD customers, as well as partnering with and supporting local and other businesses,” he said.

In addition to providing design, R&D and test services, PI will offer a range of low-production commercial, off-the-shelf (COTS) products including an advanced exciter/igniter product used by NASA and commercial customers today.

About Pickens Innovations

Pickens Innovations is a hardware-focused company specializing in design, research and development, and test. Founder Tim Pickens was propulsion lead for SpaceShipOne, the first privately funded spacecraft to go to space, which also won the $10 million Ansari XPRIZE. A serial aerospace company entrepreneur, Pickens’ greatest business success to date is Orion Propulsion, a Huntsville aerospace company he founded in 2004 and sold in 2009 after growing it to a 40-employee, $6.4 million business with no outside investment.

PI’s mission is to deliver real-world results with reduced technical risks to government and commercial customers. PI’s high-tech R&D test facility, one of the leanest in the country, is conveniently located only five minutes from the Huntsville Army/NASA gate and Cummings Research Park. PI provides solutions to companies throughout the United States using a flexible business structure. PI’s past performance includes unannounced contracts with several entities that required absolute product development confidentiality. For more information visit Follow PI on Twitter @PickensInnovate.

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