Travis S. Taylor

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Travis S. Taylor
Born (1968-07-24) July 24, 1968 (age 55)
EducationAuburn University (B.E.E.)
University of Western Sydney (MS)
University of Alabama, Huntsville (MS, PhD, MSE, PhD)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUnited States Department of Defense
ThesisLaboratory simulation of atmospheric turbulence induced optical wavefront distortion (1999)

Travis Shane Taylor (born July 24, 1968) is an American scientist, engineer, science fiction writer, and the star of National Geographic Channel's Rocket City Rednecks which aired 2011–2013. Taylor has written numerous technical papers, science fiction novels, and two textbooks. He has appeared in television documentaries including NGC's When Aliens Attack and is one of the primary investigative scientists on History Channel's The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch.

Early life[edit]

Travis Shane Taylor was born on July 24, 1968, in Decatur, Alabama in North Alabama. His father, Charles Taylor, worked as a machinist at Wyle Laboratories, which subcontracted for National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in the 1960s.[1] As a boy, Taylor read science fiction and dismantled household electronics.[1] While in high school, Taylor's family moved to Somerville, near Huntsville.[1] At 17 years old, with the help of his neighbor, he built a radio telescope that won the state science fair.[2] This led the Army to offer Taylor a job working at Redstone Arsenal on directed energy weapons systems directly out of high school as well as a scholarship.[1]


Taylor earned a B.S. in electrical engineering from Auburn University in 1991, before going on to study at University of Alabama, Huntsville where he earned a MS in physics in 1994, a PhD in optical science and engineering in 1999, and a MSE in mechanical and aerospace engineering in 2001. He then completed a MS in astronomy in 2004 at the University of Western Sydney before earning a second PhD from University of Alabama, Huntsville in aerospace engineering in 2012.[3][4] [5]


By 2006, Taylor had worked on various programs for the United States Department of Defense and NASA for over sixteen years.[3] He has researched several advanced propulsion concepts, very large space telescopes, space-based beamed energy systems, high-energy lasers,[6] and next generation space launch concepts.[3] Taylor has also been involved with Human intelligence (HUMINT),[7] Imagery intelligence (IMINT),[8] Signals intelligence (SIGINT)[9] and Measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT)[8] concept studies.[3]

Taylor was the chief scientist on the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force (UAPTF).[10] He is also a Principal Research Scientist at Radiance Technologies.[11]

Science fiction[edit]

According to Taylor, after he expressed his dissatisfaction with space opera and the comparative dearth of recent hard science fiction, he was challenged by his wife to write his first book, and studied Robert A. Heinlein's works for stylistic influence.[12] His first novel, Warp Speed, was published in 2004.[13] By 2020, Taylor had published 14 science fiction novels.[14]

Personal life[edit]

Taylor and his wife have two children, and they live in Somerville, Alabama.[1]


Taylor first appeared in episodes of The Universe and Life After People for the History Channel in 2010, after his name came up in a search regarding space warfare.[15] Taylor was then on National Geographic Channel's When Aliens Attack in 2011.[16]

In the summer of 2011, the National Geographic Channel announced[17][18] a new series called Rocket City Rednecks which features Taylor. The first episode showed in September 2011.[19] A self-proclaimed 'redneck rocket scientist', Taylor focuses on 'hillbilly ingenuity' for the show's backyard science experiments, aided by his family and best friend, who are all machinists and inventors.[2][20] The show ran for two seasons, from September 2011 to January 2013.[21][22]

In 2015, he hosted the series "3 Scientists Walk into a Bar", which had four episodes in 2015.[23] From 2017 he appeared on the History Channel show Ancient Aliens, starting in the Season 12 episode "Voices of the Gods," and following with appearances in 28 episodes through season 18. Additional History Channel appearances were on The Tesla Files and The Curse of Oak Island in 2019. Taylor, along with principal investigator Erik Bard, leads a History Channel series focusing on mysteries titled The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch, in which they investigate potentially anomalous phenomena. On other networks, he appeared in episodes of In Search of Monsters and NASA's Unexplained Files.


Year Title Role Production Episodes Notes
2009–2010 The Universe Self The History Channel 6 episodes [24]
2010 Life After People Self The History Channel 5 Episodes [24]
2011 When Aliens Attack Self National Geographic Channel Film [24]
2011–2013 Rocket City Rednecks Host and producer National Geographic Channel 6 Episodes (Producer for 1 episode) [24]
2014 The Independents Self Fox Business Apocalypse Now (2014) [24]
2015 3 Scientists Walk into a Bar Host The Weather Channel 4 episodes [24]
2018 The Tesla Files Host The History Channel 5 episodes [24]
2014–present The Curse of Oak Island Self The History Channel Rock Solid (2019) [24]
2019 In Search of Monsters Self Travel Channel The Loch Ness Monster (2019) [24]
2019 NASA's Unexplained Files Self Science Channel 5 episodes [24]
2021 America's Book of Secrets Self The History Channel 5 episodes [24]
2017–2021 Ancient Aliens Self The History Channel 23 episodes [24]
2019–2021 The UnXplained Self The History Channel 15 episodes [24]
2022 A Tear in the Sky Self Omnium Media Documentary Film [24]
2020–present The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch([a]) Self The History Channel 27 episodes [24]



Year Title Series Notes References
2004 Warp Speed Warp Speed [13]
2005 The Quantum Connection Warp Speed [13]
2006 Von Neumann's Warr Co-author with John Ringo [13]
2007 Vorpal Blade Looking Glass Co-author with John Ringo [13]
2007 One Day on Mars Tau Ceti Agenda [13]
2007 The Tau Ceti Agenda Tau Ceti Agenda [13]
2008 Human by Choice Cresperian Co-author with Darrell Bain [13]
2009 One Good Soldier Tau Ceti Agenda [13]
2010 Back to the Moon Space Excursion Co-author with Les Johnson [13]
2011 Extraction Point! Point Co-author with Stephanie Osborn [13]
2015 Trail of Evil Tau Ceti Agenda [13][25]
2016 On to the Asteroid Space Excursion Co-author with Les Johnson [13]
2017 Kill Before Dying Tau Ceti Agenda [13]
2017 Moon Beam Moon Beam Co-author with Jody Lynn Nye [13]
2018 Bringers of Hell Tau Ceti Agenda [13]
2019 Moon Tracks Moon Beam Co-author with Jody Lynn Nye [13]
2020 Battle Luna Co-author with Kacey Ezell, Josh Hayes, Michael Z. Williamson, and Timothy Zahn [13]
2021 Saving Proxima Co-author with Les Johnson [13]
2022 Ballistic [13]

Nonfiction books[edit]

Year Title publisher Notes References
2006 An Introduction to Planetary Defense Brown Walker Press Co-author Bob Boan [13]
2009 Introduction to Rocket Science and Engineering CRC Press [13]
2010 The Science Behind The Secret Baen Books [13]
2011 Alien Invasion Baen Books Co-author Bob Boan [13]
2012 A New American Space Plan Baen Books Co-author Stephanie Osburn [13]
2019 Introduction to Laser Science and Engineering CRC Press [26]


  1. ^ Alternative title "The Curse of Skinwalker Ranch" depending on region


  1. ^ a b c d e Ben Bartley, "Dr. Travis S. Taylor: Attempting to Understand Auburn’s Ubermensch", The War Leader, June 21, 2012. Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  2. ^ a b Meet the Ringleader of 'Rocket City Rednecks' |, Retrieved September 24, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c d Taylor, Travis S.; Boan, Bob; Anding, R.C.; Powell, T. Conley (2006). An Introduction to Planetary Defense: A Study of Modern Warfare Applied to Extra-Terrestrial Invasion (PDF). BrownWalker Press. p. 9. ISBN 1-58112-447-3.
  4. ^ Alumni Author Spotlight: Travis Taylor, Archived May 11, 2021, at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved May 10, 2021.
  5. ^ "Travis Taylor – Linkedin" (Personal Linkedin profile) Retrieved May 7, 2021.
  6. ^ Meet the Rocket City Rednecks, [1]. Retrieved September 24, 2012.
  7. ^ "Video Interview with Travis S. Taylor- Baen Books". Archived from the original on October 6, 2011. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  8. ^ a b Travis S. Taylor (May 8, 2006). "Bio | Travis S. Taylor". Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  9. ^ "Planetary Defense & the The Philadelphia Experiment _ PSI Saturday". No Lies Radio. September 24, 2011. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  10. ^ Kloor, Keith (June 29, 2022). "Pentagon UFO study led by researcher who believes in the supernatural". Science. Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  11. ^ "Dr. Travis S. Taylor Joins Radiance Technologies". Yahoo News. April 21, 2022. Archived from the original on July 19, 2022. Retrieved July 19, 2022.
  12. ^ Interview with Travis S. Taylor – Baen Books, "Interview with Travis S. Taylor – Baen Books". Archived from the original on October 12, 2012. Retrieved September 23, 2012.. Retrieved September 24, 2012.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y "Travis S Taylor". Retrieved July 11, 2022.
  14. ^ Dustan, Shona (March 29, 2020). "Experts investigate reports of the paranormal in 'The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch'". Standard=Speaker. Hazleton, Pennsylvania. p. T15.
  15. ^ Exclusive Interview with Travis Taylor of Nat Geo's Rocket City Rednecks, Retrieved September 23, 2012.
  16. ^ Preview: NGC’s “When Aliens Attack” and “Area 51 Declassified”, Channel Guide Magazine – May 20, 2011.
  17. ^ Lindsay Taub (August 1, 2011). "NatGeo Previews New Shows at TCA Press Tour in Los Angeles". Archived from the original on October 5, 2011. Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  18. ^ "Rocket City Rednecks – National Geographic Channel – Fall TV Preview 2011 | Channel Guide Magazine". Retrieved October 8, 2011.
  19. ^ Mike Hale (September 27, 2011), "The Sticks, With Jet Propulsion" (Review), The New York Times,. Retrieved October 3, 2011.
  20. ^ All-New Season, Retrieved December 4, 2012.
  21. ^ Matt Wake, "'Rocket City Rednecks' not renewed for third season, National Geographic Channel spokesperson says",, April 25, 2013. Retrieved December 26, 2019.
  22. ^ Rocket City Rednecks , IMDB. Retrieved December 25, 2019.
  23. ^ 3 Scientists Walk into a Bar, IMDb.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Travis Taylor (X)". IMDB. Retrieved July 8, 2022.
  25. ^ Sakers, Don (November 2015). "The Reference Library". Analog Science Fiction and Fact. 135 (11): 105–108.
  26. ^ Taylor, Travis S. (2019). Introduction to Laser Science and Engineering. doi:10.1201/b22159. ISBN 9781315178561. S2CID 201244143. Retrieved July 19, 2022. {{cite book}}: |website= ignored (help)

External links[edit]