"Mad Mike” Hughes doesn’t believe in science, but that hasn’t stopped him from building a rocket from scrap metal in his spare time. On Saturday, Hughes will launch himself on his homemade rocket in an attempt to up his cred as a daredevil. But as you can see from the logo on the rocket, it is also a major publicity stunt for a group called Research Flat Earth, which funded almost half the cost of the rocket. Hughes expects to reach an altitude of 1,800 feet while traveling over a mile on land.
This isn’t the first time Hughes, who describes himself as a “walking reality show,” has flown in a homemade rocket. In January of 2014, he successfully launched himself in his first rocket, although he had to be dragged from the fuselage upon landing after the G-forces took a toll on him during flight.
This launch, Hughes hopes to break his previous distance record of 1,374 feet. Hughes will be flying over the California ghost town of Amboy and expects to reach speeds of 500 miles per hour in the air. His rocket is fueled by steam and will be carrying about 70 gallons of hot water as fuel.
According to NBC, the rocket cost Hughes about $20,000, nearly $8,000 of which was crowded-funded by the Research Flat Earth group. It is uncertain what the Flat Earthers hope to learn about the shape of our planet from an altitude of under 2,000 feet. Even planes flying at altitudes between 30,000 and 40,000 feet are unable to see the curvature of the Earth, so it is unlikely that Hughes will notice anything odd from his rocketship.
Copenhagen Suborbitals is another group of amateur rocketeers working on crewed rockets, but their flight vehicle has been in development for over a decade and will eventually carry its passenger to low earth orbit. This group of rocketeers does believe in science and have so far been incredibly successful with their rocket program.
Hughes plans to launch himself in the early afternoon on Saturday. Although visitors to the event are discouraged for safety reasons, you can watch the spectacle on a livestream.
"If you're not scared to death, you're an idiot," Hughes told NBC. "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.”