Call him crazy, call him ill informed, but you can’t call him a quitter. “Mad” Mike Hughes, a flat earther that built his own steam powered rocket and claims to have plans to run for governor of California finally made it to launch on Saturday. His homemade rocket reached a peak altitude of some 1,875 feet before Hughes had to deploy both his primary and backup parachutes to slow his descent back to earth enough to keep it survivable.
“This thing wants to kill you 10 different ways,” said Hughes. “This thing will kill you in a heartbeat.”
His launch vehicle, a converted mobile home, finally found a place to settle down after a series of technical issues and conflicts with the Bureau of Land Management forced him to postpone and relocate the launch repeatedly since the original launch date scheduled in November. Serving as both the launch and landing site for the rocket, the mostly abandoned desert town of Amboy, California proved to be a most fitting location for the over-the-top endeavor helmed by a 61-year-old man that believes the earth to be “shaped like a frisbee.”
According to details released following the launch, the homemade rocket reached a terminal velocity of around 350 miles per hour on its way to its peak altitude of just shy of 2,000 feet. From there, he launched his rocket propelled parachute, but soon realized that he was still coming down too fast. He then deployed his backup chute as well, but the rocket still hit the ground with a significant thud, cracking the rocket’s nose cone and battering the man inside.
“Am I glad I did it?” Hughes, a limo driver when not building rockets, said. “Yeah. I guess. I’ll feel it in the morning. I won’t be able to get out of bed. At least I can go home and have dinner and see my cats tonight.”