Daredevil "Mad" Mike Hughes was killed on Saturday after launching himself in a homemade, steam-powered rocket.
Hughes was a flat Earth conspiracy theorist and was well-known for riding in his self-built steam rockets in order to disprove the Earth's sphericity.
Supporters said his rocket crash-landed shortly after takeoff near Barstow, California while filming for the Science Channel series, Homemade Astronauts during which Hughes was attempting a "cosmic quest to explore the final frontier on a shoestring budget."
He was 64.
You can watch the news report of the tragic news, here.
Mike Hughes, perhaps the most visible and colorful advocate of the theory that Earth isn’t a sapphire-and-emerald g… https://t.co/MK5ZIEcm65— Alex Horton (@Alex Horton)1582475383.0
Hughes and his business partner Waldo Stakes built the steam-powered rocket that was expected to launch 5,000 feet into the air.
But footage capturing the crash landing revealed a parachute being separated from the rocket moments after takeoff.
@tweet_ski @USATODAY You see the parachute becoming loose just after launch. No way it was going to end well after that.— Bas van Dijk (@Bas van Dijk)1582490624.0
The launch was meant to be a first step towards building awareness for a more ambitious mission.
The duo wanted to eventually build a rocket that would take Hughes 62 miles into the sky to the edges of the Earth's atmosphere.
@USATODAY I’m sorry for his loss but this was an accident waiting to happen & he probably knew that in his heart— Nigel Ponting (@Nigel Ponting)1582481015.0
Hughes acknowledged the risks involved to prove the Earth was flat.
In November 2017, he told the Associated Press:
"It's scary as hell. But none of us are getting out of this world alive."
@USATODAY Sometimes natural selection is harsh— Phil Jeynes (@Phil Jeynes)1582481797.0
Producers of Homemade Astronauts issued a statement announcing the tragic news.
"Michael 'Mad Mike' Hughes tragically passed away today during an attempt to launch his homemade rocket."
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time. It was always his dream to do this launch and Science Channel was there to chronicle his journey."
How his maladroit mission was sanctioned is anybody's guess.
@USATODAY So this guys like, I'm gonna do this thing that will undoubtedly kill me either when I land or by height,… https://t.co/5TRPVr5Jcz— Sneaky Sloth (@Sneaky Sloth)1582481756.0
@USATODAY Whoever allowed this man to take off in that death trap should be charged!!!!!— Sean Murphy (@Sean Murphy)1582484735.0
People tried to make sense of the disastrous mission.
@VICE Why couldn’t he just attach a GoPro to a balloon and see earth is round rather than putting himself on a damn… https://t.co/zRUrR0rjN2— Tha don (@Tha don)1582478877.0
@VICE I can already hear the Flaters claiming sabotage to cover up the “truth”. When, you know, home-made rockets a… https://t.co/cgTZQDnPAL— Ʀobb Sturtcmaƞ (@Ʀobb Sturtcmaƞ)1582492785.0
@VICE So did his denial of science cause his death directly?— BRandoM (@BRandoM)1582481248.0
@VICE I hate to say it, but this reeks of natural selection.— Sean Robertson (@Sean Robertson)1582483836.0
@USATODAY Two words that don't go together: homemade and rocket— Frasier Seinfeld (@Frasier Seinfeld)1582480509.0
@USATODAY Ok seriously. WHERE are friends, family, SOMEONE doing a health check on these guys??? If he was an alcoh… https://t.co/qrPMlX1MnE— ABitOfSky 🌄 (@ABitOfSky 🌄)1582486153.0
Few saw a silver lining in the wake of his death.
@VICE He died doing what he loved, travelling in a rocket pointed at the ground at 300 miles per hour.— Kyle Beckley (@Kyle Beckley)1582486404.0
@USATODAY Not the worst way to die - on the old age doing dangerous stunts that you love doing. Much more dignified… https://t.co/enRMqSYF2o— Craft Shogun (@Craft Shogun)1582482776.0
Hughes first made headlines in March 2018 after surviving a crash landing in the Mojave Desert.
He had propelled himself about 1,875 feet into the air on a self-built rocket near Amboy, California using a mobile home as a makeshift ramp.
Hughes commented on the crashed rocket at the time:
"This thing wants to kill you 10 different ways."
That same year, he announced he was planning on running for governor of California.
In 2002, the former limousine driver set a Guinness world record with a 103-foot jump in a Lincoln Town Car stretch limousine.
There had been no other reported injuries from Saturday afternoon's crash.