Pickens Innovations Expands R&D, Testing Capabilities

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.


GLXP Updates: Aldrin & Pickens Leave Moon Express, Lunar Lion Withdraws


By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Two high profile executives — President Andrew Aldrin and Propulsion Vice Pesident Tim Pickens — have left Bob Richard’s Moon Express, the commercial exploration company that has been one of the favorites to win the $30 million Google Lunar X Prize for landing and operating a rover on the surface.

Meanwhile, the only student-led team in the race, Penn State Lunar Lion, has withdrawn from the prize after an independent review found it could not achieve that goal within the competition’s tight deadline of Dec. 31, 2017.


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.

Moon Express Opens Propulsion Development Facility in Huntsville

Tim Pickens

Mountain View, CA, July 16, 2013 (ME PR) — Moon Express, Inc., a lunar resource company, today announced the opening of a Propulsion Development Facility in Huntsville, Alabama that will be key to landing the world’s first commercial spacecraft on the Moon.

The announcement was made by rocket pioneer Tim Pickens, who joined Moon Express as the company’s Chief Propulsion Engineer earlier this year. Pickens made the announcement at the 2013 AIAA Joint Propulsion Conference in San Jose, California, revealing that the company has already successfully met several milestones in its propulsion development plans, including:

  • Successfully test firing a “green” 400 pound demo rocket engine, demonstrating the new test facility checkout, as well as testing engine performance, deep throttling, and efficiency
  • Developing new mono-prop and bi-prop propulsion systems for the Moon Express lander that range in thrust classes from 0.1-1000 pound thrust
  • Investments into new local capabilities including design, fabrication, and remote hot fire test capabilities for “Green” propulsion systems


Tim Pickens Joins Moon Express as Chief Propulsion Engineer

moon_is_me_logoMOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., Feb. 14, 2013 (ME PR) — Moon Express, Inc., a provider of commercial and scientific missions to the Moon, announced today that award-winning rocket pioneer Tim Pickens has been hired by the company as Chief Propulsion Engineer, responsible for overall propulsion architectures used in Earth departure stages, lunar breaking stages and lander propulsion systems.

Among Pickens’ responsibilities at Moon Express will be to lead its Huntsville office, located near the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Pickens will split his time between the Moon Express Huntsville office and its corporate headquarters at the NASA Ames Research Park in Silicon Valley.


GLXP News: Moon Express Acquires Rocket City Space Pioneers in Teaming Agreement with Dynetics

moon_is_me_logoHuntsville, AL, Dec 20, 2012 (ME PR) – Moon Express, Inc., a provider of commercial and scientific missions to the Moon, announced today it has reached a Teaming Agreement with Dynetics for the acquisition of the Rocket City Space Pioneers (RCSP) Google Lunar X PRIZE Team. The agreement brings the substantial space capabilities of Dynetics to the Moon Express team for the pursuit of commercial lunar missions, and will leverage and carry forward the substantial work done by RCSP supported by its visionary partners: Dynetics, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Andrews Aerospace, Draper Laboratory, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, Von Braun Center for Science & Innovation, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Moog, Huntsville Center for Technology, and Analytical Mechanics Associates.


Tim Pickens on Rocket City Rednecks Tonight

“Rocket-Powered Pickup” — December 13 at 9pm ET/PT. The National Geographic Channel. The Rednecks want to create a cheap, reusable rocket-powered truck, and Travis thinks he has the answer: a hybrid rocket engine. It’s rare in the hobby rocket world, but a hybrid rocket has more control because it combines two forms of fuel — a solid and a gas. Any solid substance with carbon can become “rocket fuel” when combined with a gas. Travis’s buddy, private space pioneer Tim Pickens, helps the guys create a rocket engine. Testing reveals that asphalt is actually a powerful and cheap rocket fuel alternative. When the Rednecks’ old clunker truck collapses under the weight of the rocket, they put the engine into Tim’s brand-new truck — and attempt to fire it off down a drag strip.

Tim Pickens Drops By The Space Show

This week on The Space Show with David Livingston:

1. Monday, July 30, 2011 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome SUSAN HOLDEN MARTIN, Executive Director of The Mars Society. Ms. Martin will update us regarding the upcoming convention and more.

2. Tuesday, July 31, 2012, 7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT): We welcome RICHARD DAVID, CEO of New Space Global, LLC to tell us about his company, NewSpace company evaluations, and more. Check them out at www.newspaceglobal.com.

3. Thursday, August 2, 2012, 9:30-11 AM PDT (12:30-2 PM EDT, 11:30AM-1PM CDT): We welcome back TIM PICKENS. Tim has engaged in new space opportunities and has much to tell and update us with regarding space and related matters.

4. Friday, August 3 2012, 9:30-11 AM PDT (12:30-2 PM EDT, 11:30AM-1PM CDT): We welcome CRISTINA CHAPLAIN of the GAO to discuss DOD Space, NASA, and Missile Defense.

5. Sunday, August 5, 2012.,12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT):We welcome DR. JAMES SCHIER of NASA for a discussion about NASA’s Human Space Flight (HSF) Architecture Team, the future deep space exploration architecture, the Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Program and plans for the future evolution of NASA’s three space communications networks as well as commercial space development. Dr. Schier is also a docent at the National Air & Space Museum.

Alabama Students to Name Rocket City Space Pioneers’ Lunar Lander

Dynetics PR — Huntsville, Ala. (Jan. 31, 2012) – Today, on the 54th anniversary of the launching of the Explorer 1 satellite, the Rocket City Space Pioneers (RCSP) invited Alabama public school fourth graders to participate in their mission to the Moon.  RCSP, the Alabama Tourism Department and the Alabama Department of Education unveiled the details of a contest that will allow fourth graders to name RCSP’s Moon-bound lander.  The winning class will get a free trip to Space Camp®, and the teacher will receive a $500 gift card for classroom supplies.

The announcement was made at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center®’s Davidson Center, and the event featured a rocket engine firing and a display of hardware from Rocket City Space Pioneers team members.


Video: Tim Pickens Describes Rideshare

Team Leader Tim Pickens and Jason Andrews talk about their cool rideshare program during a break at the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. Falcon 9 is the planned launch vehicle, and the program offers savings of over 50% over traditional dedicated missions.

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Joins Rocket City Space Pioneers Team

DYNETICS PR — Dynetics and Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne (PWR) announced today at the National Space Symposium that PWR has joined the Rocket City Space Pioneers as the newest team member. The Rocket City Space Pioneers team is a group of businesses led by Dynetics, competing in the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE.

Tim Pickens, team leader of the Rocket City Space Pioneers, said: “Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne will be a key player on our team. We are very fortunate to have such a reputable space company with a proven history of success join us on our mission.”