*Just call him the “Rocket Man.” As a matter of fact, I hope he was playing the once popular Elton John tune as he went up, with the smoke trailing behind in his home-made rocket! Sick and tired of folks claiming, fool, you didn’t make no rocket! “Mad” Mike Hughes, who makes no secret that he believes the earth is flat, showed ’em!
He did build a rocket, and blasted off in it on Saturday.
He made it 1,875 feet into the air….before it came down, Hard. In the Mojave dessert.
But there’s no shame in his game. At least he came down in one piece. The Associated Press captured a photo of him being wheeled to a waiting van by paramedics.
“I’m tired of people saying I chickened out and didn’t build a rocket. I’m tired of that stuff. I manned up and did it,” said “Mad” Mike Hughes to the AP after paramedics gave him clearance.
When asked how he felt after his hard Mojave Dessert landing he said, “Relieved.”
NBC News reports…
The launch took place near Amboy, California, a desert town — about 200 miles east of Los Angeles. It wasn’t easy scheduling the brave (or crazy, depending on where you’re coming from) attempt.
Take a look at the launch for yourself.
Hughes initially planned to launch last November, but ran into was problems several times because of logistical issues with the Bureau of Land Management and mechanical problems that kept popping up, according to NBC.
Hughes reached a speed that Waldo Stakes — who has been helping him — estimated to be around 350 mph before pulling his parachute. He was dropping too fast, though, and had to deploy a second one. Hughes landed with a thud and the rocket’s nose broke in two places like it was designed to do.
“This thing wants to kill you 10 different ways,” said Hughes, who had an altimeter in his cockpit to measure his altitude. “This thing will kill you in a heartbeat.
This has been quite an undertaking for Hughes, a 61-year-old limo driver, who lives in Apple Valley, California. He’s seen a flurry of reaction to his plans, with detractors labeling him a crackpot for planning the launch in a homemade contraption and his belief that the world is flat.
Of course his escapade met with its share of ridicule and cynicism. With folks posting things like “He’ll be fine” beside a picture of Wile E. Coyote strapped to a rocket.
“I hope he doesn’t blow something up,” retired NASA astronaut Jerry Linenger — who orbited the globe more than 2,000 times during four months in 1997 — said after Hughes’ plans captured widespread attention. “Rocketry, as our private space companies found out, isn’t as easy as it looks,” he added.
But Hughes seems to be taking it all in stride.
“Am I glad I did it? 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.”
In the future Mr Hughes wants to build a ‘Rockoon’ – a rocket that is carried into the atmosphere by a gas-filled balloon, then separated from the balloon and lit – which would take him about 68 miles up.
He also plans to run for governor of California.