A 61-year-old man called “Mad” Mike Hughes has spent about $20,000 on the construction of a rocket that is powered by steam. The man plans to fly the rocket over a ghost town in California called Amboy. If you are worried for Hughes, you aren’t alone.
The man if confident in his rocket, but says “If you’re not scared to death, you’re an idiot.” Incidentally, Hughes has no formal engineering or rocket training and believes that the Earth is flat. This can’t go well.
Hughes also says that he doesn’t believe in science. He says that he knows aerodynamics and fluid dynamics, but nothing about the size of rocket nozzles and thrust. This isn’t Hughes first rocket flight though, he jumped a previous rocket in Winkelman, Arizona in 2014 and traveled 1,374 feet. The G-forces made him collapse after the landing and he needed three days for recovery.
If Hughes sounds a lot like the ’80s staple Evel Knievel, don’t mention that to him. Apparently, Hughes isn’t a fan of the daredevil. Hughes has spent $20,000 on the rocket and scrounged most of the parts.
The launching pad is the back of a $1,500 motorhome that was purchased on Craigslist. Interestingly, the city of Amboy is said to be what the city of Radiator Springs in the movie “Cars” is loosely based on. If all goes well Hughes will shoot about 1,800 feet into the air using 70 gallons of water turned into steam. When the rocket can go no higher, he will pull a pair of parachutes. The launch will be televised on internet pay-per-view.