Flat Earth Rocketeer Once Again Fails to Launch Himself Into the Sky at 500 MPH

By Tom McKay on at

We’ve all been playing a waiting game with “Mad” Mike Hughes, the DIY enthusiast and Flat Earth theory advocate who planned to launch himself in a steam-powered rocket some 1,800 feet into the sky at 500 miles per hour as some kind of confusing statement on the curvature of the planet.

Hughes, who has one prior DIY launch in 2014 under his belt, originally planned to launch a newer, crowd-funded $20,000 (£14,000) rocket with “RESEARCH FLAT EARTH” emblazoned on the side from the Mojave Desert ghost town of Amboy, California, in November. But as the countdown to the launch drew down, the Bureau of Land Management informed him he couldn’t fly over public lands, forcing the launch’s cancellation. Hughes promised another launch was coming on Saturday, February 3rd, but the big day came and went without anything leaving the launch pad.

A live stream from Noize TV captured 11 painstaking minutes of the homemade rocket sitting on the pad on Saturday before... not going anywhere. Whatever technical malfunction apparently blew the launch was not immediately revealed, though according to Route 66 News, Hughes believes a faulty seal may have thwarted the launch.

“Some of you at home are going, ‘Ah, I fucking knew it,’” Noize TV’s host said. “But you know what, you didn’t know anything, because this man, I know he really tried. He really fucking tried. What went wrong could be a number of things. It could be the easiest thing. It could be nothing.”

In a video posted to YouTube on Sunday, Hughes explains the different ways he attempted to get the rocket to launch, which he says failed because he could not get combustion due to an improperly functioning actuator. Or possibly plunger. It’s unclear.

Hughes says in the video that “there is a probability” blast-off could happen today. However, he says he “has to be in court on Tuesday morning” thanks to legal efforts he says he’s pursuing against several government entities, which makes a Monday launch unlikely.

“I don’t know, guys,” Hughes said to the crowd gathered for Saturday’s failed launch. “I’m just one man.” [Route 66 News]


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