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.

OPI, founded by Tim Pickens in 2004, has 35 employees. Pickens, who was chief technology officer, will serve as chief propulsion engineer for Dynetics. Mark Fisher, who has been acting president of OPI, will serve as head of the propulsion department within the space systems division.

“Dynetics is very fortunate to bring in a company with such an outstanding reputation and significant experience,” said Dr. Marc Bendickson, Dynetics CEO. “Orion has established itself as an innovative, rapid and low-cost provider of rocket propulsion products. As Dynetics continues to pursue opportunities related to space, the integration of Orion will strengthen our capabilities in space technologies and hardware development.”

David King, executive vice president of Dynetics, added, “Tim Pickens is one of the most creative, energetic and ‘lean thinking’ propulsion experts in the United States. He is well-known in the local and national space communities. We are excited to bring Tim on board – along with Mark Fisher, who has 20 years of experience in NASA, DoD (Department of Defense) and commercial propulsion and management – as well as the rest of the OPI team.

“Orion is the only Huntsville-based propulsion company with full life cycle capabilities,” King continued. “Its low-cost, rapid design, build and test approach is synergistic with our developing in-house space vehicle capability. Most space vehicle firms outsource for rocket propulsion. Having this capability in-house will greatly enhance our integrated space offerings.”

The mission of Dynetics’ space systems division is to deliver a wide array of space products and services to meet the needs of the civil, military and space sectors, including capabilities in propulsion; orbital systems, including the FASTSAT satellite; space sciences; atmospheric systems; advanced sensors; and rapid prototyping.