Alabama born and bred, Dr. Travis Taylor has worked with the Department of Defense and NASA for the past 25 years. He has above Top Secret clearance with the U.S. government, holds five degrees — in optical science and engineering, physics, aerospace engineering, astronomy and electrical engineering — and is currently completing a second Ph.D. in aerospace engineering. He built his first rocket at age 6, and has been a space geek ever since. He is currently working on several advanced propulsion concepts, very large space telescopes, space-based beamed energy systems, high-energy lasers and next-generation space launch concepts. Taylor has written more than 25 technical papers, 14 science fiction novels and two textbooks and has appeared in multiple television documentaries, including National Geographic Channel's highly rated special When Aliens Attack.
Dr. Taylor is also the star of National Geographic Channel's Rocket City Rednecks, which premieres its second season on Thursday, November 29. The show follows a family of rocket scientists living in Huntsville, Alabama, as they use their smarts (plus some good ol' fashioned Southern ingenuity) to solve real-world problems. Rocket City Rednecks was National Geographic Channel's highest-rated new series of 2011, in which the guys tackled experiments like bombproofing a truck using beer cans, constructing a bulletproof Iron Man suit that fired rockets, and building a submarine using fertilizer containers and beer kegs. In addition to his TV role, Dr. Taylor is also the author of the new book, A New American Space Plan.