Sixty-one-year-old California man “Mad” Mike Hughes is, as described by various reports, a proud flat-earther and a self-taught rocket scientist. He also hopes to become the first person in the world’s history to design and build his own rocket and launch himself in it, just as he is planning to do on Saturday.
A limousine driver by trade, Hughes had recently been working on a homemade, steam-powered rocket that he created over the last few years with a variety of salvage parts in his garage. According to a report from the Associated Press, the project cost him about $20,000 in total, with the final costs including a motor home that he purchased from Craigslist to serve as a ramp for his planned rocket launch, as well as a paint job showing off the names of his sponsors.
As seen in photos of the rocket, “Mad” Mike Hughes’ main sponsor is Research Flat Earth, which the AP noted is indicative of his strong belief that our planet is flat. And it appears that the rocket is almost ready for testing, as Hughes will be heading to an airstrip in the ghost town of Amboy, California, on Saturday and launching his creation for the first time. Hughes reportedly got permission for the launch from town owner Albert Okura, who spent $435,000 in 2005 to acquire the rights to Amboy.
“If you’re not scared to death, you’re an idiot,” Hughes told the Associated Press.
“It’s scary as hell, but none of us are getting out of this world alive. I like to do extraordinary things that no one else can do, and no one in the history of mankind has designed, built, and launched himself in his own rocket.”
Hughes also described himself to the AP as a “walking reality show,” adding that he hasn’t been bothered by people referring to him as “eccentric, quirky, [and] foolhardy.”
Gizmodo noted that the test launch will have “Mad” Mike Hughes and his Research Flat Earth rocket traveling at speeds of up to 500 miles per hour for about a mile, and hitting a peak altitude of 1,800 feet before it descends with the help of two parachutes. He also plans to build another rocket that will allow him to head into space and take photographs of what he sees. And while that might sound like an outrageous plan for someone without formal training in rocket building, he related to the AP that he “doesn’t believe in science” and sees no difference between science and science fiction.
“I know about aerodynamics and fluid dynamics and how things move through the air, about the certain size of rocket nozzles, and thrust. But that’s not science, that’s just a formula.”
Hughes added that he’s also planning to announce his California gubernatorial bid after Saturday’s launch is completed.
According to a 2016 report from Ars Technica, “Mad” Mike Hughes is no stranger to daredevil stunts. In 2002, he made the Guinness Book of World Records by jumping 103 feet in a Lincoln Town Car stretch limo. Twelve years later, he launched a rocket over private property in Winkelman, Arizona, traveling a distance of 1,374 feet and collapsing afterward due to the impact of g-forces. All in all, Hughes required three days to recover from the rough landing.
Those who are interested in watching “Mad” Mike Hughes’ Research Flat Earth rocket as it launches on Saturday can watch the event on “internet [pay-per-view],” as advertised on his official website. Due to safety concerns, the event will not be open to the public.
[Featured Image by Sergei Nivens/Shutterstock]