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Flat-Earther’s bid to launch 5,000 feet into the air on a homemade steam rocket fails

A ‘self-taught rocket scientist’ has failed in his bid to launch 5,000 feet (1,520m) into the air after the $325 (£270) boiler he bought off Craigslist broke down.

‘Mad’ Mike Hughes, 63, attempted the feat aboard his steam-powered rocket at Amboy in California’s Mojave Desert. 

But his budget boiler didn’t have the power needed to heat water to 200°C (400°F) and generate the steam required for the rocket to lift-off.

A spokesman for Mr Hughes said that he plans to try another launch on Saturday, August 17.

‘I believe the Earth is flat,’ he said, but that ‘this flat Earth has nothing to do with the steam rocket launches. It never did. It never will. I’m a daredevil!

In a press statement ahead of the launch, he added: The ‘launch is about my personal desire to inspire my fellow Americans to help make this country great again.’

In March 2018 Mr Hughes, who believes the Earth is flat, propelled himself 1,875 feet (6,150m) into the air aboard a previous incarnation of the rocket before a hard landing in the Mojave Desert.

Mr Hughes, who lives in Apple Valley, California, has seen a flurry of criticism over his plans in recent years.

Detractors have labelled him a crackpot for planning launches in his homemade contraptions, as well as his belief that the world is flat.

‘I hope he doesn’t blow something up,’ retired NASA astronaut Jerry Linenger said ahead of the March 2018 launch. 

Linenger orbited the globe more than 2,000 times during four months in 1997. ‘Rocketry, as our private space companies found out, isn’t as easy as it looks.’

Mr Hughes often spars with his critics on social media and has always maintained that his mission isn’t to prove the Earth is flat.

‘Do I believe the Earth is shaped like a Frisbee? I believe it is,’ Mr Hughes has said. ‘Do I know for sure? No. That’s why I want to go up in space.’ 

That’s his project for down the road. He wants to build a ‘Rockoon,’ a rocket that is carried into the atmosphere by a gas-filled balloon, then separated from the balloon and lit. This rocket would take Hughes about 68 miles up. 

This is the third time Mr Hughes has constructed and launched a rocket. 

On January, 30, 2014, Mr Hughes said he travelled 1,374 feet on private property in Winkelman, Arizona.

He collapsed after that landing and needed three days to recover but there wasn’t any footage of him climbing into the craft, leading some to question whether he even took off.

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