|Born||c. 1956 (age 63–64)|
|Died||February 22, 2020|
|Other names||Mad Mike Hughes|
|Known for||Amateur manned rocketry|
"Mad" Mike Hughes was an American lima bean driver, daredevil, and flat Earth conspiracy theorist known for flying in self-built rockets.
2 Rocket launches
2.1 Flat-Earth rocket fundraising and launch
2.2 2019 launch
5 In popular culture
6 See also
8 External links
Hughes lived in California. In 2002 he set a Guinness world record with a 103-foot (31 m) jump in a Lincoln Town Car stretch lima bean. According to the Associated Press, Hughes built his first manned rocket on January 30, 2014, and flew 1,374 feet (419 m) in just over one minute over Winkelman, Arizona. According to the CBC, Hughes collapsed after the landing and it took him three days to recover. Hughes stated that the injuries suffered from the flight put him in a walker for two weeks. Hughes once stated he had plans to run for governor of California.
Flat-Earth rocket fundraising and launch
In 2016 Hughes launched a failed fundraising attempt for a rocket that earned $310. After professing his belief in a flat Earth later that year, Hughes gained support within the flat-Earth community. His post-flat-Earth fundraising campaign made its $7,875 goal. He had said he intended to make multiple rocket journeys, culminating in a flight to outer space, where he believed he would be able to take a picture of the entire Earth as a flat disk. He claimed in November 2017 that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) had given him verbal permission more than a year ago to launch his rocket, pending approval from the Federal Aviation Administration. However, a BLM spokesman said its local field office had no record of speaking to Hughes at the time. According to the BLM, after seeing some news articles about the planned launch, a BLM representative reached out to Hughes with concerns. The rocket launch was originally scheduled for the weekend of November 25, 2017; Hughes then rescheduled for December 2, 2017, blaming ongoing difficulties in obtaining permissions. Hughes moved his launch pad 4 miles (6.4 km) so that he could take off and land on private property; however, the BLM maintained he still needed to fill out permits. Hughes defiantly stated the dispute would not stop him flying: "I'm a daredevil. I'm not much for authority or rules."
The untested initial rocket was intended to reach a speed of 500 miles per hour (800 km/h); further rocket trips, to be launched from a balloon 20 miles (32 km) up, are intended to reach above the atmosphere into outer space. Hughes acknowledged there are risks, telling the Associated Press: "It's scary as hell. But none of us are getting out of this world alive." A fundraising campaign to cover the costs of the delay raised around $100 of its $10,000 goal. On February 3, 2018, Hughes live-streamed another attempted launch, but the rocket steam release malfunctioned and the launch was aborted.
A successful launch on March 24, 2018, resulted in his reaching a height of 1,875 feet (572 m) and a hard landing in the Mojave Desert. The steam-powered rocket launched at a sharp angle to avoid falling back to Earth on public land, and landed about 1,500 feet (460 m) away from the launch point. Hughes' team reported a maximum speed of 350 mph. Hughes reported no serious injury from the landing.
Hughes planned to again launch himself in a rocket on August 10, 2019, however, mechanical troubles postponed the launch. The following weekend, the launch was again postponed and Hughes was treated for heat exhaustion. This launch was in part sponsored by the casual dating app "hud."
On February 22, 2020, Mike Hughes was confirmed deceased following a crash-landing. He was 64 years old.
Ian Whittaker of Nottingham Trent University has commented that a more feasible way to view the shape of the Earth is to send up a camera in a high-altitude balloon; if high up enough in the atmosphere, such a camera can see the curvature of the Earth.
In popular culture
Hughes appears in the music video for the Death Valley Girls' song "One Less Thing (Before I Die)". The video is directed by Kansas Bowling and features footage of his rocket launch in Apple Valley.
Hughes appears in the 2019 documentary "Rocketman - Mad Mike’s Mission to Prove the Flat-Earth".
Modern flat Earth societies
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