Meet the self-proclaimed Rocket City Rednecks. They’re five “backwoods” guys from the rocket city: Huntsville, Ala., home to NASA’s Marshall Flight Center and the birthplace of the U.S. space program. Sure, they love to shoot stuff and drink beer, and one of ‘em lives in a trailer, but with a family tree full of NASA rocket scientists (not to mention their own PhDs and advanced degrees), they aim a little higher — like using homemade moonshine to fuel a rocket!
Rocket City Rednecks, a 20-episode series premiering Wednesday, September 28 at 9:00P e/p, is led by Travis Taylor and his team of redneck geniuses. In his younger years, Travis started out cleaning chicken coops, but for the past two decades he’s been a research scientist with the Department of Defense and NASA. Sometimes big science moves too slow for Travis, so come the weekends he “gits” together with his father, brother-in-law, nephew and best friend to combine a little hillbilly ingenuity with advanced engineering and physics to tackle real-world scenarios. With their thick accents and distinctive vocabulary, the tight-knit group brings their own unique style of southern charm to science and technology.
Meet the “Rednecks”
Travis Taylor, “The Ringleader.” Alabama born and bred, Travis has one of the highest levels of Top Secret clearance with the U.S. government, holds five advanced degrees and is currently completing his second PhD in aerospace engineering. He built his first rocket at age 6.
Rog Jones, “The Sidekick.” Travis met his best friend Rog in the Alabama talented and gifted program in elementary school. Rog has a genius IQ and is a skilled metalworker, welder and the “prankster” of the group.
Charles Taylor, “Daddy.” Travis’ father was one of NASA’s original machinists, working directly with Wernher Von Braun to build America’s first satellites (some of which are still flying). Now retired, he spends his time hunting and fishing.
Michael Taylor, “The Kid.” Travis’ nephew removes trees by day but tinkers with all sorts of gadgets by night. He built his first motorized shopping cart when he was 16.
Pete Erbach, “Pistol Pete.” He’s Travis’ brother-in-law and an optical scientist who designs satellites and lasers at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center when he’s not gun collecting.
Their methods are assuredly unconventional. They’ll rethink some of the military’s defense technologies, using beer cans to bombproof Humvees and junkyard parts to construct “Iron Man” suits that could protect soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. With the skyrocketing cost of fuel, the guys explore alternative energy sources — using hydropower to run a kegerator.
With only one weekend to complete each build, a limited budget and Daddy’s tools, the Rednecks are challenged to find creative solutions to real-world challenges.