Dr. Tim Crain

Vice President, Research & Development
Intuitive Machines

Tim received his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas, a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow and Assistant Instructor. He began his professional career in 2000 at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, TX, where he was a lead engineer in the Engineering Directorate’s Aeroscience and Flight Mechanics Division. During his tenure at JSC, he worked on the navigation design for Mars Science Lander and was the Orbit Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) System Manager for the Orion spacecraft. In 2009, Crain became the Flight Dynamics lead for NASA’s Project Morpheus that followed a low-cost, lean project development model to build and flight test a terrestrial version of a lunar lander incorporating advanced liquid methane propulsion, precision landing, and autonomous hazard detection and avoidance. The experience on Morpheus demonstrated how small teams of motivated engineers could rapidly innovate and apply available and emerging technologies to solve tough technical problems effectively. This was a primary motivation for Crain co-founding Intuitive Machines with Kam Ghaffarian Ph. D and Mr. Steve Altemus in 2013. Dr. Crain is a recipient of the NASA JSC Center Director’s Commendation Award, the Outstanding Young Texas Ex Award, UT Outstanding Young Engineering Graduate Award, Orion Flight Dynamics Leadership Award, and a finalist for the NASA Rotary Mid Career Stellar Award. He is a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the American Astronautical Society (AAS), where he is an annual national chair, and he’s on the board of directors at the AAS Rocky Mountain section’s Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference.