New Delhi: 61-year-old ‘Mad’ Mike Hughes is all set to launch himself aboard his self-built steam-powered rocket.
The limo driver and self-taught rocket scientist spent the last few years building the rocket out of salvage parts in his garage, which cost him $20,000 – including Rust-Oleum paint to fancy it up and a motor home he bought on Craigslist that he converted into a ramp.
The first test of the rocket which is on Saturday will also be his launch date, when he straps into his homemade contraption and attempts to hurtle over the ghost town of Amboy, California.
He will travel about a mile at a speed of roughly 500 mph.
According to the Associated Press, Hughes said: “If you’re not scared to death, you’re an idiot. 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.
I’m a walking reality show.”
Hughes has been called many things – from eccentric to quirly to foolhardy – but that is the least of his worries.
He believes the Earth is flat despite being aware that it is a conundrum, given that he’s about to launch himself into the atmosphere.
In the long term, he intends to build a rocket that takes him to space, so he can snap a picture and see with his own eyes.
“I don’t believe in science,” said Hughes, whose main sponsor for the rocket is Research Flat Earth. “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,” AP reported.
This rocket is his second creation and launch. In January 2014, Hughes jumped on a private property in Winkelman, Arizona and traveled 1,374 feet. He collapsed after that landing — the G-forces taking a toll — and needed three days to recover.
As per AP, Hughes constructed his latest rocket at the “Rocket Ranch” in Apple Valley, California. It’s a five-acre property he leases from Waldo Stakes , the CEO of Land Speed Research Vehicles who’s currently working on a project to make a car travel 2,000 mph.
The location of the jump will be Amboy , a ghost town in the Mojave Desert and along historic Route 66. The fictional town of Radiator Springs in the Disney movie “Cars” was loosely based on Amboy.
On the morning of the launch, Hughes will heat about 70 gallons of water in a stainless steel tank and then blast off between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. He plans to go about a mile — reaching an altitude of about 1,800 feet — before pulling two parachutes.
They’re discouraging fans due to safety issues but it will be televised on his YouTube channel.