“Mad” Mike Hughes is a proud 61-year-old flat-Earther (meaning that he believes the Earth to be a flat disc, not a sphere); he’s also the self-proclaimed “world’s most famous limousine driver” and a self-taught rocket scientist, as well as a man with goals. One of those goals, and a lofty one to boot, was to design and build a homemade rocket, then to launch himself in it. While it sounds next to impossible, Mike Hughes got within inches of doing just that on Saturday, when he planned to blast off in his $20,000 scrap-metal, steam-powered rocket (complete with motorhome/rocket launcher) sometime between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. from an airstrip in the ghost town of Amboy, California. Fans of the daredevil even had the opportunity to watch the 500 MPH max-speed, 1,800-foot-high, launch on internet pay-per-view, according to his official website.
According to “Mad” Mike, his somewhat expensive plans required corporate sponsorship to achieve, and the primary sponsor for his endeavor (as evidenced by the icons and logos adorning his homemade rocket) is Research Flat Earth, an organization dedicated to proving Hughes’ shared belief that the Earth is, in fact, flat. The self-taught rocket scientist also claims to have obtained permission for his decidedly dangerous launch from the owner of tiny Amboy, California, Albert Okura.
Unfortunately for “Mad” Mike Hughes, USA Today reports that the federal government (and some technical difficulties) have thrown a wrench into the flat-Earther’s plans, forcing him to scrap Saturday’s planned rocket launch, despite over a year of planning. In a YouTube announcement, Hughes told his loyal followers (and curiosity seekers) that he’d been forced to cancel Saturday’s launch after the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) put the brakes on the stunt by calling the daredevil and telling him that he didn’t have permission to conduct his highly experimental and potentially dangerous launch on BLM land.
“[They] told me they would not allow me to do the event… at least not at that location. It’s been very disappointing.”
Despite Saturday’s disappointing launch cancellation, “Mad” Mike isn’t throwing in the towel on his project, which involved years of building his homemade rocket in his garage. Instead, reports the Chicago Tribune, Hughes is treating Saturday’s setback as nothing more than a minor blip on his flat-Earth radar. In fact, the self-taught rocket scientist plans to launch his steam-powered rocket into the “atmosflat” sometime this coming week, possibly as early as Tuesday. What’s more, Hughes isn’t worried about his BLM dispute, because he plans to move the launch a few miles down the road onto private property.
“It’s still happening. We’re just moving it three miles down the road. This is what happens any time you have to deal with any kind of government agency. I don’t see [the launch] happening until about Tuesday, honestly. It takes three days to set up….You know, it’s not easy because it’s not supposed to be easy.”
Even without his BLM-related drama getting in the way of Saturday’s launch plans, Mike Hughes may have been forced to postpone the iconic first flight. That’s because his modified motorhome “rocket launcher” experienced some technical difficulties. According to Hughes, the problem has already been repaired.
If “Mad” Mike Hughes’ upcoming manned rocket launch is successful (i.e., if he survives), the limo driver plans to use the event to mark the first success of the first phase of his so-called “flat-Earth space program.” In time, as his technology expands and improves, Hughes plans to obtain photographic evidence that the Earth is a disc, not a sphere.
“It’ll shut the door on this ball earth.”
While Mike Hughes is self-taught, he has proven himself to be a successful engineer in the past. The limo driver-turned-flat-Earther built and successfully launched a manned rocket in 2014, flying the homemade creation a quarter-mile over Winkelman, Arizona, before crashing back to the Earth. Hughes claims that his injuries were so severe that he spent two weeks recovering in a walker. For his next manned rocket launch, “Mad” Mike is planning on being airborne for a mile.
According to the rocket scientist, who recently converted to the controversial flat-Earther belief system (in part to help raise funds for his latest homemade rocket), his injurious 2014 rocket launch was based on round-Earth tech, which could have doomed him before he ever got off the ground.
While some might call his attempt at flat-Earth flight “insane,” “Mad” Mike Hughes accounts for that, and he admits that launching himself into (protected only by his self-taught creation) into the “atmosflat” is “scary,” but not scary enough to stop him from seeking his photographic evidence of the flat Earth’s edge.
“It’s scary as hell. But none of us are getting out of this world alive.”
[Featured Image by Elena Schweitzer/Shutterstock]