spaceSpace and Physics

This Flat-Earther Is Going To Launch Himself In A Homemade Rocket On Saturday


Jonathan O'Callaghan

Senior Staff Writer

The launch is scheduled for Saturday. Mad Mike Hughes/Facebook

It's safe to say that if someone has the nickname "mad", then they're certainly not going to be, you know, un-mad.

That's the case for Mad Mike Hughes, a limo-driver in the US who enjoys a spot of being a daredevil on the side. He's previously launched himself in a rocket-powered limo and a steam rocket. Now, he's planning to launch himself in a rocket over a ghost town called Amboy in California this weekend.


Hughes is, well, an interesting character. He's a flat-Earther, solidified by the giant "RESEARCH FLAT EARTH" branding on his rocket from a group of the same name. He also doesn't really like science, which is a shame, as he seems quite good at building rockets.

"I don't believe in science," he told The Associated Press. "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. There’s no difference between science and science fiction.”

His latest rocket is again powered by steam, and Hughes apparently built it for just $20,000 – using a stripped down motor home for the ramp. That's seriously impressive if true. Maybe the next von Braun is going to be a guy that doesn't believe the Earth is round.

On the launch this weekend, Hughes says he'll travel about 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) through the air above the Mojave Desert, subjected to speeds of up to 800 kilometers per hour (500 miles per hour).


Footage of Hughes launching in 2014

When Hughes launched in 2014, the intense G-forces and what looked like a rather shoddy parachute injured him quite badly; he needed three days to recover. Who knows how it'll go this time around, but it's safe to say it doesn't look hugely safe.

The launch is going to be streamed on Hughes' YouTube channel and on his website. You won't be able to watch it live in person though, for safety reasons. The event is scheduled for between 2 and 3pm local time, when Hughes will have 70 gallons of water in a tank ready to blast him into the sky. Two parachutes will bring him back to Earth, hopefully.

In the future, he's considering dropping a rocket with him in it from a gas-filled balloon, and rocketing into space by reaching a height of 110 kilometers (68 miles). First, we just hope he lands safely on Saturday, if it all goes ahead.


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