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Broadcast 357 (Special Edition)Listen to the show!
Aired on July 5th, 2005
Guest: Tim Pickens
Tim Pickens returned to The Space Show for this program to discuss new developments with his company, Orion Propulsion 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. Pickens discussed hybrid rocket engines, his work on the Space Ship One engine, and various ISPs associated with potential hybrid rocket fuels. In response to listener questions, Mr. Pickens discussed the entrepreneurial business climate, raising money, and the need for solid business planning with less PR and less rhetoric. Mr. Pickens also responded to questions about political and business in-fighting in the community and he stressed just how destructive this practice has become though he understands why it happens. You will certainly want to hear what he has to say about this from his onsite observations and involvement with this community. In response to a question from a listener, Tim explained how cautious both is company and he are regarding what they discuss and place on their website because of concerns relating to ITAR. You will certainly want to hear this program as Mr. Pickens and his company, Orion Propulsion, are involved in some very serious and real projects about which exciting announcements may soon be made. Listeners can contact Mr. Pickens through his website or as always through me at

About our guest...

Tim Pickens
Tim Pickens is a Commercial Space Advisor and Technical Consultant, an inventor, entrepreneur, innovator, engineer and educator. His business, Pickens Innovations, specializes in commercial space, technical product development and solutions, and business consulting for space and technical companies. He most recently served as Commercial Space Advisor and Chief Propulsion Engineer for Huntsville, Alabama-based Dynetics. Pickens is known for applying a lean philosophy to develop creative solutions and innovative partnerships to provide responsive, low-cost products and services. His 20 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. Dynetics brought Pickens on board in December 2009 as part of the purchase of the space company he founded, Orion Propulsion Inc. Pickens grew Orion to be a $6.4 million company with 40 employees within !ve years, working in all areas of the business to run a lean and innovative start-up. With his expertise and vision in the space industry, particularly in the commercial arena, Pickens was responsible for developing innovative space product solutions for Dynetics and expanding the company’s commercial space business. Pickens’ most recent role at Orion was as CEO, while he simultaneously served as program manager for the development of the reaction control thrusters for the Bigelow Aerospace Sundancer module. These thrusters operate combusting hydrogen and oxygen produced from waste byproducts, a technology that o"ers the state of the art in space-living recycling. Before founding Orion, Pickens served as lead propulsion engineer at Scaled Composites on SpaceShipOne, winner of the $10 million X PRIZE. He also worked for small hardware-rich aerospace companies in Huntsville. Pickens’ 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 eforts 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. A sought-after presenter for his genuine, inspirational and humorous delivery style, Pickens is recruited to speak at conferences all over the country. He shares his views on commercial space at space conferences; gives advice at business forums to entrepreneurs who seek his unique small business success secrets; inspires people at motivational conferences to pursue their ambitions; and presents at various events about technology and innovations for which he cites many examples from his professional career and garage creations. Pickens has been featured in Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, CNN online articles, and on The Daily Show. Features include his serious company innovations, as well as his fun home hobby eforts such as rocket trucks, rocket bikes and suitcase rockets. He is currently building/testing a jet pack belt that can be seen from time to time#ying in Alabama lakes. He appeared on an episode of “Mad Scientists,” a show about scientists and inventors on the National Geographic channel, in November 2011.

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