Daredevil and DIY rocketeer Michael “Mad Mike” Hughes died in a tragic rocket launch accident on 23 February 2020. Mike previously launched himself in his homemade steam powered rocket in 2018, reaching more than 1,800 feet into the sky.
Sources reports that the 64-year-old daredevil died upon impact after his rocket malfunctioned during launch. The vehicle’s parachute prematurely deployed seconds after take-off, which also hindered the craft’s propulsion and trajectory. Furthermore, the parachute was completely severed from the rocket in the process, thus leaving Hughes with no means of landing safely.
Michael 'Mad Mike' Hughes tragically passed away today during an attempt to launch his homemade rocket. Our thoughts & prayers go out to his family & friends during this difficult time. It was always his dream to do this launch & Science Channel was there to chronicle his journey pic.twitter.com/GxwjpVf2md
— Science Channel (@ScienceChannel) February 23, 2020
The launch was documented by Discovery’s new Science Channel show called Homemade Astronauts, according to CNN. The show aimed to chronicle “a group of colourful DIY rocketeers taking their own path to space.” Given the tragic outcome of Hughes’ launch attempt, it’s unlikely that the Science Channel will use or release the footage.
Mike Hughes is known to be a Flat Earth believer, but had previously told Space.com that it was not a primary motivator for his rocket launches. The late rocketeer stated that he was simply a daredevil, pushing the envelope of homemade rockets.