Tim Pickens Leaves Moon Express for Bigelow Aerospace

Tim Pickens

Tim Pickens has left is position as vice president of propulsion at Moon Express to become propulsion department manager at Bigelow Aerospace. He is leading the development of Bigelow’s propulsion systems in Huntsville, Ala.

Pickens wrote on his blog earlier this month:

The Bigelow Aerospace B330 Propulsion Team will design and develop systems for re-boost, docking, attitude control, and other on-orbit maneuvering requirements for missions destined to reposition stations to other locations.

We are seeking proven hands-on talent in the following disciplines: propulsion system design/analysis, modeling, and manufacturing, and in the use of vacuum test facilities to produce hot/cold vacuum environments to support development and qualification testing.

We have immediate positions available for seasoned talent who have excelled in a fast-paced environment and who are ready to make commercial space history.

Pickens joined Moon Express in February 2013 from Dynetics. He had founded Orion Propulsion in 2004, selling it to Dynetics five years later.

Pickens had also heading the Rocket City Space Pioneers, a Google Lunar X Prize contender supported by Dynetics. The team was acquired by Moon Express in December 2012 through a teaming agreement with Dynetics.

NSS Congratulates Tim Pickens on Sale of Orion Propulsion

December 21, 2009

The National Space Society (“NSS”) congratulates one of its own, Tim Pickens, on the sale of his successful pioneering NewSpace company, Orion Propulsion, Inc. (“OPI”), to another Huntsville, Alabama-based aerospace company, Dynetics. OPI specializes in spacecraft and rocket propulsion design and fabrication, testing services, ground support equipment, and launch operations support. Mr. Pickens, who was chief technology officer for OPI, will serve as chief propulsion engineer for Dynetics.


Orion Propulsion Developing Rocket Engine for Nanosats

Company tests rocket engine that may launch affordable access to orbit for small satellites
The Huntsville Times

Monday afternoon, in a trailer surrounded by cotton fields just west of Huntsville International Airport, a group gathered to watch the 5-second burn of a ground-breaking if not ground-shaking rocket engine.


Tim Pickens Sells Orion Propulsion to Dynetics


Dynetics announced today it has purchased Orion Propulsion, Inc. (OPI), a Huntsville aerospace company that specializes in spacecraft and rocket propulsion design and fabrication, testing services, ground support equipment and launch operations support. The addition of OPI will expand Dynetics’ capabilities to develop space-related hardware.


Orion Propulsion Completes Qualification Tests for Bigelow Space Station Propulsion

Exterior view of Bigelow Aerospace's Genesis II
Exterior view of Bigelow Aerospace's Genesis II


Orion Propulsion, Inc. today announced completion of a qualification test program for the Forward Propulsion System (FPS) of Bigelow Aerospace’s Sundancer Project, the world’s first commercial space habitat.

The innovative Orion Propulsion thruster system uses hydrogen and oxygen that are produced from Bigelow’s proprietary Environmental Control Life Support System (ECLSS) as propellants for the spacecraft’s attitude control system . This truly “people-powered” space craft, which burns hydrogen and oxygen generated from water, sweat, and urine, eliminates the need for more toxic propellants such as hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide that are more costly to use and harmful to the environment – on Earth and in space.


Pickens, Kirby on The Space Show this Week

The Space Show schedule for this week:

The Monday, June 15, 2009, 2-3:30 PM PDT Program welcomes back Dr. Richard Kirby to discuss New Horizons in Space Science Education.

The Tuesday, June 16, 2009, 7-8:30 PM is OPEN LINES on The Space Show. Remember, all subjects are welcome (no politics, please).

The Thursday, June 18, 2009, 9:30-11:00 AM PDT show welcomes back Tim Pickens of Orion Propulsion to the show. Tim Pickens is president and founder of Orion Propulsion Inc. located in Madison, Alabama.

The Friday, June 19, 2009, 9:30-11:30 AM PDT show welcomes Roger Launius and Andrew Johnston to the show regarding their new book, “Atlas of Space Exploration” published by Smithsonian.

The Sunday, June 21, 2009, 12-1:30 PM PDT welcomes Julie Jiru and Vicki Belleau to the program as they are space law students at the Univ. of Nebraska studying under Professor Frans von der Dunk.

Pickens: Launch Industry Needs to Go Green

Tim Pickens gave an interesting presentation this afternoon at ISDC titled, “Greening the Aerospace Community.” The Orion Propulsion founder and CEO talked what he feels the industry needs to do moving forward toward a greener profile.


Lunar Lander Test Bed Demonstrated in Huntsville


Teledyne Brown Engineering (TBE) and Orion Propulsion, Inc. (OPI) successfully demonstrated the Lunar Lander Test Bed (LLTB) today, capping the delivery of this unique hardware to the Von Braun Center for Science and Innovation (VCSI). The LLTB was presented, complete with rocket engine firings, at the dedication of TBE’s Space Systems Manufacturing Center. The LLTB will be used to demonstrate and mature technologies required for future NASA robotic space exploration.


Orion Propulsion, Teledyne Brown Get Lunar Lander Contract

30 January 2009

Orion Propulsion, teamed with Teledyne Brown, was awarded the contract to develop a Lunar Lander with an integrated propulsion system. OPI will be developing the propulsion system at the facility on Commerce Circle. Teledyne Brown will be building the demonstrator at their Sparkman Drive facility.


Orion Propulsion Joins Boeing Ares I Team; Companies Sign Mentor Aggreement


Boeing has announced their Industry Team for the Ares I Crew Launch Vehicle Upper Stage Production bid. Orion Propulsion has been revealed as a team member and will supply reaction control system thruster test equipment, tooling, and test support services. Orion will also provide design, fabrication, and testing expertise. In addition, Orion will be working with Boeing’s mentor-protégé program in order to grow as a supplier to both Boeing and NASA.

Orion’s President, Tim Pickens, says, “We are very excited to be part of the Boeing Ares I Team. I think Boeing has chosen team members that are technically savvy and committed to lean manufacturing. As the president of a small business, I appreciate Boeing’s commitment to using innovative and affordable businesses that are eager to meet NASA’s needs in a responsive manner. I think Boeing will lead a team of suppliers that provides the best lean production solution and the most cost-effective strategy to support NASA’s CLV goals.”

Orion Propulsion is located outside of Huntsville, Alabama. The company recently signed an agreement to provide thrusters for Bigelow Aerospace’s Sundancer space station.

Orion Propulsion to Provide Control System for Bigelow’s Sundancer Habitat

Bigelow Aerospace has chosen Orion Propulsion, Inc. to provide the forward attitude control system for its Sundancer space habitat. Orion Propulsion will provide four ACS bi-propellant modules, which will be used for attitude control and desaturating momentum wheels.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to support Bigelow Aerospace’s Sundancer program, which is placing the first commercial human-rated space habitat in Earth orbit,” said Orion CEO Tim Pickens. “This kind of trailblazing opportunity is in line with Orion’s commitment to commercial space efforts. Affordable thrusters and systems are centerpieces of Orion Propulsion’s product line.”

Orion Propulsion is located outside of Huntsville, Alabama. Bigelow Aerospace is based in Las Vegas, Nevada.