- Mike Hughes is a limo driver from California and proponent of the flat Earth movement
- He previously launched himself in a home-made rocket in 2014
- The altitude he reached was no where near the 35,000 feet mark that is required to visually detect the Earth's curvature
- Hughes plans on becoming a politician and running for the office of Governor
"Mad" Mike Hughes, the self-proclaimed rocket man and flat earth researcher finally launched himself on March 24 in a home-made rocket after several delays.
He is part of an ever-growing group of people who believe that the Earth is flat and he wanted to make sure in the only way that he saw fit, which was to fly high enough to see if the Earth was actually flat or spherical.
Hughes was able to reach an altitude of 1,875 feet in the air, reports the Associated Press (AP). The launch happened in a dessert 320 km east of Los Angeles. "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," he said after a hard landing on the desert floor.
To see or even slightly detect the actual curvature of the Earth, one would have to be at least 35,000 feet in the air, with a wide range of view and a cloudless sky.
This launch could have also gotten canceled, notes the report. Technical issues and wind were causing the steam-powered rocket to lose pressure. The launch team wanted it at 350 psi, but the pressure remained at 340 psi. The rocket finally took off at 3 pm, without a countdown.
Hughes reached a speed of around 560 km per hour before deploying his parachute, but he was found to be going too fast and a second parachute was also deployed on his way down. The rocket crashed into the desert and the nose cone acted as a crumple zone and broke into two pieces on impact just as intended.
"This thing wants to kill you 10 different ways," said Hughes. "This thing will kill you in a heartbeat.
"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."
This attempt, however, was ridiculed more than it was appreciated, with many comparing Hughes to Wile E Coyote rather than an astronaut.
"Do I believe the Earth is shaped like a Frisbee? I believe it is," he said. "Do I know for sure? No. That's why I want to go up in space."
Hughes is apparently not done trying to reach space. His next idea is to build a "Rockoon"– a balloon launched rocket. A hot air balloon that will carry a rocket to the edge of space and then launch it upward of over a 100 km.