Michael “Mad Mike” Hughes was killed in the crash of his homemade steam-powered rocket Saturday in California. It was the second launch for Hughes in his mission to prove the Earth is flat by eventually taking photos of the lack of curvature of the planet from space. Hughes, 64, launched from the desert northeast of Los Angeles about 2 p.m. and the flight lasted about 20 seconds when the rocket crashed nose first at high speed.
As the rocket launched, the recovery parachute separated from the rocket. The craft arced to the right before reaching about 1,000 feet and then plummeting to the ground. The Science Channel was covering the launch as part of its series Homemade Astronauts. Medical personnel were on hand for the launch and reached the crash site immediately but there was no chance of survival.