Travis S. Taylor

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Travis S. Taylor
Born (1968-07-24) July 24, 1968 (age 54)
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 24 July 1968 in Decatur, Alabama) is an American scientist, engineer, science fiction author, 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. As well as appearing in television documentaries, including NGC's When Aliens Attack and starring as the lead investigator in History Channel's The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch.

Early and family life[edit]

Travis Shane Taylor was born 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 direct energy weapons systems directly out of high school as well as a scholarship.[1]

Taylor lives near Huntsville with his wife Karen, daughter Kalista Jade, two dogs Stevie and Wesker, and his cat Kuro.[1]

Education and research career[edit]

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 Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. from University of Alabama, Huntsville in Aerospace Systems 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 is also involved with multiple Human intelligence (HUMINT),[7] Imagery intelligence (IMINT),[8] Signals intelligence (SIGINT)[9] and Measurement and signature intelligence (MASINT)[8] concept studies.[3]

Taylor was briefly the informal chief scientist on the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force.[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]


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.[13] Taylor was then on National Geographic Channel's When Aliens Attack in 2011.[14]

In the summer of 2011, the National Geographic Channel announced[15][16] a new series called Rocket City Rednecks which features Taylor. The first episode showed in September 2011.[17] 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][18] The show ran for two seasons, from September 2011 to January 2013.[19][20]

In 2015, he hosted the series "3 Scientists Walk into a Bar", which had four episodes in 2015.[21] In 2017, he appeared on the History Channel show Ancient Aliens Season 12 episode “Voices of the Gods.” Taylor also appeared in the Season 13 episode "The Alien Protocols," as well as the show The Tesla Files in 2018. Next, he was on an episode of The Curse of Oak Island on the History Channel in January 2019. He was able to show off his knowledge of searching for underground items using different gasses. Later in 2019, he appeared in an episode of "In Search of Monsters" and the show NASA's Unexplained Files. Taylor led a 2020 History Channel series focusing on mysteries at Skinwalker Ranch, Utah, United States, in which he and a team investigated potential paranormal phenomena. The Curse / Secret ([a]) of Skinwalker Ranch program launched a second season on May 4 2021,[22] and a third season on 3 May 2022.[23]



Year Title Role Expertise Episodes Notes
2009-2010 The Universe Self Physicist/Sci-fi author 6 episodes [24]
2010 Life After People Self Engineer/Physicist 5 Episodes [24]
2011 When Aliens Attack Self and Scientific Consultant Physicist/Author Film [24]
2011-2013 Rocket City Rednecks Host and producer Rocket Scientist/Engineer 6 Episodes (Producer for 1 episode) [24]
2014 The Independents Self Aerospace Engineer/Sci-Fi Author Apocalypse Now (2014) [24]
2015 3 Scientists Walk Into a Bar Host 4 episodes [24]
2018 The Tesla Files Host 5 episodes [24]
2014-present The Curse of Oak Island Self Astrophysicist Rock Solid (2019) [24]
2019 In Search of Monsters Self Astrophysicist The Loch Ness Monster (2019) [24]
2019 NASA's Unexplained Files Self 5 episodes [24]
2021 America's Book of Secrets Self Astrophysicist 5 episodes [24]
2017-2021 Ancient Aliens Self Astrophysicist/Aerospace engineer 23 episodes [24]
2019-2021 The UnXplained Self Astrophysicist/Aerospace engineer 15 episodes [24]
2022 A Tear in the Sky Self Film [24]
2020-present The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch Self Astrophysicist 27 episodes [24]

Fiction bibliography[edit]

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

Nonfiction bibliography[edit]

Year Title Type Notes References
1998 Long-pulse narrow-linewidth dispersive solid-state dye-laser oscillator Journal Article Co-author [26]
2001 Preliminary analysis of light sail systems engineering concepts Paper Co-authored with Brian Landrum [27]
2003 Solar Sail Application to Comet Nucleus Sample Return Paper Co-author [28]
2005 In-Space Propulsion: Connectivity to In-Space Fabrication and Repair Paper Co-author [29]
2006 An Introduction to Planetary Defense Book Co-author Bob Boan [25]
2009 Introduction to Rocket Science and Engineering Textbook [25]
2010 The Science Behind The Secret Book [25]
2011 Alien Invasion Book Co-author Bob Boan [25]
2012 A New American Space Plan Book Co-author Stephanie Osburn [25]
2019 Introduction to Laser Science and Engineering Textbook [30]


  1. ^ Alternative title 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 23 September 2012.
  2. ^ a b Meet the Ringleader of 'Rocket City Rednecks' |, Retrieved 24 September 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, Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  5. ^ "Travis Taylor - Linkedin" (Personal Linkedin profile) Retrieved 07 May 2021.
  6. ^ Meet the Rocket City Rednecks, Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  7. ^ "Video Interview with Travis S. Taylor- Baen Books". Archived from the original on 6 October 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  8. ^ a b Travis S. Taylor (8 May 2006). "Bio | Travis S. Taylor". Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  9. ^ "Planetary Defense & the The Philadelphia Experiment _ PSI Saturday". No Lies Radio. 24 September 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  10. ^ Kloor, Keith (29 June 2022). "Pentagon UFO study led by researcher who believes in the supernatural". Science. Retrieved 19 July 2022.
  11. ^ "Dr. Travis S. Taylor Joins Radiance Technologies". Yahoo News. 21 April 2022. Retrieved 19 July 2022.
  12. ^ Interview with Travis S. Taylor – Baen Books, "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 October 2012. Retrieved 23 September 2012.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link). Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  13. ^ Exclusive Interview with Travis Taylor of Nat Geo's Rocket City Rednecks, Retrieved 23 September 2012.
  14. ^ Preview: NGC’s “When Aliens Attack” and “Area 51 Declassified”, Channel Guide Magazine - 20 May 2011.
  15. ^ Lindsay Taub (1 August 2011). "NatGeo Previews New Shows at TCA Press Tour in Los Angeles". Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  16. ^ "Rocket City Rednecks – National Geographic Channel - Fall TV Preview 2011 | Channel Guide Magazine". Retrieved 8 October 2011.
  17. ^ Mike Hale (27 September 2011), "The Sticks, With Jet Propulsion" (Review), The New York Times,. Retrieved 3 October 2011.
  18. ^ All-New Season, Retrieved 4 December 2012.
  19. ^ Matt Wake, "'Rocket City Rednecks' not renewed for third season, National Geographic Channel spokesperson says",, April 25, 2013. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
  20. ^ Rocket City Rednecks , IMDB. Retrieved 25 December 2019.
  21. ^ 3 Scientists Walk into a Bar, IMDb.
  22. ^ "Is Season 3 of the Secret of Skinwalker Ranch in the Works?".
  23. ^ "Should History Channel Give Season 4 of The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch a Chance?". Retrieved 31 July 2022.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Travis Taylor (X)". IMDB. Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x "Travis S Taylor". Retrieved 11 July 2022.
  26. ^ "Long-pulse narrow-linewidth dispersive solid-state dye-laser oscillator". Retrieved 19 July 2022.
  27. ^ "Preliminary analysis of light sail systems engineering concepts". Retrieved 19 July 2022.
  28. ^ "Solar Sail Application to Comet Nucleus Sample Return". NASA. Retrieved 19 July 2022.
  29. ^ "In-Space Propulsion: Connectivity to In-Space Fabrication and Repair". NASA. Retrieved 19 July 2022.
  30. ^ "Introduction to Laser Science and Engineering". Retrieved 19 July 2022.

External links[edit]