Technical problems apparently prevented a scheduled rocket launch Saturday afternoon near Amboy, California, by adventurer and flat-Earth advocate “Mad” Mike Hughes.
People at the scene speculated Hughes might try to launch himself sometime during today’s Super Bowl, but Hughes in a video shot by a bystander seemed noncommittal until he could look at the rocket more thoroughly this morning.
Hughes stated through one of his websites the launch had been canceled but offered no explanation or whether it would be rescheduled.
Esther Hollister shot this video after the launch was scrubbed. A disappointed Hughes speculates a seal problem may have prevented the steam-powered rocket from launching, but he wouldn’t know until morning.
Hughes had planned to launch his rocket in November in Amboy city limits, but the Bureau of Land Management nixed the idea, saying it was too close to federal property.
Hughes then moved the launch to private property a few miles outside of Amboy off Route 66.
It was anticipated the manned vertical launch would go about 1,800 feet in the air at a speed of up to 500 mph. A parachute then would bring him gently back to Earth.
This isn’t the first time Hughes has tried to blast himself into the skies. His last launch in Arizona in 2014 went more than 1,300 feet. He needed three days to recover physically because of the effect of G-forces.
Hughes built his new rocket in Apple Valley, California, another Route 66 town in the high desert.
Amboy owner Albert Okura gave permission for the rocket launch. Okura, who owns the Juan Pollo restaurant chain of Southern California, also is co-sponsoring the launch. He bought Amboy — most famous for its historic Roy’s restaurant, gas station and motel — in 2005. Roy’s motel remains closed, but the gas station reopened, and the restaurant serves as a convenience store.
UPDATE 2/5/2018: Flat Earth International Conference today posted a video of Hughes speculating on why the launch failed Saturday (via Gizmodo):
Hughes also said there was a possibility the rocket could launch today, but he seemed doubtful because he had to be in court Tuesday for a lawsuit and another hearing Friday over murderer Charles Manson’s estate.
(Image of “Mad” Mike Hughes and his rocket on Jan. 20 via Facebook)