Scientist 'crazy' died of homemade rockets

Mike Hughes, scientist who wants to prove the Earth is flat, died at age 64 in a rocket accident on February 22 in Barstow, California.

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Hughes's rocket flew off course.(Photo: NPR).

Justin Chapman, a reporter at the launch site, recounted that the accident occurred during Hughes's third launch with a rocket he had built himself. The reason for this is that the steel ladder was attached to the ramp to the launch pad to make it easier for Hughes to enter the missile cockpit. But when it took off, the rocket struck the ladder, resulting in the parachute landing being torn and stuck to the thruster.

As a result, the rocket flew out of the way and swayed and flew in an arc before crashing into the desert less than a minute away from the launch pad 800 meters. The San Bernardino County Police Station said they received a call at 1:52 pm on February 22 local time announcing a man died after a rocket hit the desert in a private land next to the highway. 247 in Barstow.

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Mike Hughes on the homemade rocket model.(Photo: New York Times).

"We don't know what happened," said Waldo Stakes, a close friend of Hughes, who was also at the launch site. In addition to Stakes, about 50-60 people came to watch the launch, including the Science Channel film crew.

Hughes built missiles powered by steam engines. According to Chapman, Hughes's goal was to fly to an altitude of 1,524 m. In May 2018, he successfully launched a rocket to a height of 572 m in the Mojave desert before opening the parachute and directing the rocket to land. When he got out of the rocket, Hughes shared that he had back pain but was glad that the launch went smoothly.

Hughes was dubbed the "mad" scientist for the extreme view that the Earth has a flat shape like a disk. To prove his point, Hughes spent months building rockets to fly into the air to observe the Earth.

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