The California man who planned to launch himself 1,800 feet into the skies in a homemade scrap-metal rocket, to prove that Earth is flat — said he is postponing the Saturday experiment after he couldn’t get permission from a federal agency to conduct it on public land.
Instead, Mike Hughes says the launch will be sometime next week on private property, albeit still in Amboy, California, an unincorporated community in the Mojave Desert along historic Route 66. Hughes told The Washington Post on Friday.
“It’s still happening. We’re just moving it three miles down the road. This is what happens anytime you have to deal with any kind of government agency.”
Hughes says the Bureau of Land Management said he couldn’t launch his rocket as planned Saturday in Amboy, claiming the federal agency had given him verbal permission more than a year ago, pending approval from the Federal Aviation Administration.
A BLM spokeswoman says its local field office had no record of speaking with Hughes and he had not applied for the necessary special recreation permit to hold an event on public land. BLM spokeswoman Samantha Storms said:
“Someone from our local office reached out to him after seeing some of these news articles [about the launch], because that was news to them.”
Hughes said he had originally intended to arrive in Amboy Wednesday to start setting up his rocket. The BLM’s denial, along with some technical difficulties — a motor in his modified motor home quit working for a day — threw a wrench into his plans with Hughes saying:
“I don’t see [the launch] happening until about Tuesday, honestly. It takes three days to set up. . . . You know, it’s not easy because it’s not supposed to be easy.”
Hughes told the Associated Press that assuming the 500-mph, mile-long flight through the Mojave Desert does not kill him, his journey will mark the first phase of his ambitious flat-Earth space program.
Hughes’s ultimate goal is a launch that puts him miles above Earth, where the 61-year-old limousine driver hopes to photograph proof that it’s a disk we all live on. Hughes said in a flight fundraising interview with a flat-Earth group:
“It’ll shut the door on this ball Earth.”
Hughes promised the flat-Earth community he would expose the conspiracy with his steam-powered rocket, which will launch from a heavily modified mobile home — though he acknowledged that he still had much to learn about rocket science saying:
“This whole tech thing. I’m really behind the eight ball.”
The Associated Press reports Hughes built his first manned rocket in 2014 and managed to fly a quarter-mile over Winkelman, Arizona. You can see in the YouTube video, the flight ended with Hughes being dragged from the remains of the rocket, and says the injuries he suffered put him in a walker for two weeks.
It was originally scheduled for early 2016 in a Kickstarter campaign — “From Garage to Outer Space!” — that mentioned nothing about Illuminati astronauts and was themed after a NASCAR event. Hughes said in the pitch video:
“We want to do this and basically thumb our noses at all these billionaires trying to do this. They have not put a man in space yet. There are 20 different space agencies here in America, and I’m the last person that’s put a man in a rocket and launched it.”
Comparing himself to Evel Knievel, Hughes promised to launch himself from a California racetrack as the first step in his steam-powered leap toward space. The Kickstarter raised $310 of its $150,000 goal.
A year later, Hughes called into a flat-Earth community Web show to announce that he had become a recent convert saying:
“We were kind of looking for new sponsors for this. And I’m a believer in the flat Earth. I researched it for several months.”
The host sounded impressed, one with Hughes having flown in a rocket, but also for noting astronauts were merely paid actors performing in front of a CGI globe.
“John Glenn and Neil Armstrong are Freemasons. Once you understand that, you understand the roots of the deception.”
There is no one hypothesis for what flat Earth is supposed to look like, but many believers envision a flat disk ringed by sea ice, which naturally holds the oceans in. What’s beyond the sea ice remains to be discovered. The host told Hughes:
“We need an individual who’s not compromised by the government, and you could be that man.”
A flat-Earth GoFundMe effort raised nearly $8,000 for Hughes. The AP reported that by November, his $20,000 rocket had a coat of Rust-Oleum paint and “RESEARCH FLAT EARTH” inscribed on the side, and that Hughes will be making adjustments right up to the launch.
However, Hughes won’t be able to test the rocket before he climbs inside and attempts to steam himself at 500 mph across a mile of desert air. Hughes promised his backers that if the launch is a success, he’ll do even riskier launch within the next year, into the space above the disk, telling Ars Technica the second phase of his mission might involve floating in a balloon up to 20,000 feet above the ground, then rocket-packing himself into space. Hughes told the AP:
“It’s scary as hell. But none of us are getting out of this world alive.”