‘The real rocket man’: Flat-Earther to launch himself into orbit from ghost town
An earlier attempt to launch the steam-powered rocket was thwarted at the last minute by a US federal agency, saying Hughes had no permission to use public land.
The vertical rocket jump will now take place on private land belonging to the owner of Amboy, Albert Okura. If successful, it will bring Hughes one step closer to his ambition of reaching the edge of space and proving the Earth is actually flat.
Hughes made the rocket himself from recycled scrap metal, painting it bright green with the words ‘Flat Earth.’ The rocket blast, which will see Hughes catapulted half a mile into the air, will be broadcast live on Noize TV at a cost of $5 per viewer. Spectators are not permitted at the launch site and Hughes has warned that any drones spotted on the private property will be shot down.
Amboy is a ‘living’ ghost town on Route 66 – it has no running water, limited electricity but is home to four residents. It was bought by Okura in 2005 for $435,000 – a whopping drop from the $1.2 million price tag placed on it a couple of years earlier. “It has to be destiny,” Okura told RT.com of the price drop.
“I’m a native Californian and I had never heard of it,” Okura admitted. However, the town’s secret status has changed thanks to social media boosting a revival in the popularity of Route 66, not to mention increased interest over the impending rocket jump.
Okura – who founded the Juan Pollo restaurant chain – met Hughes, a limousine driver, several years ago at a car show. While everyone else unsurprisingly turned up with cars, Hughes showed up with a rocket. Impressed with what he saw, and encouraged by a successful rocket launch Hughes made in Arizona in 2014, Okura told RT.com he was happy to have him blast over Amboy.
He’s confident Mad Mike will pull off the rocket jump without any hitches and hopes the feat will bring even more fame to the once-forgotten town: “If he’s successful we'll be known as ‘rocket town.’ It will be the most famous day in the history of Amboy.” The icing on the cake would be a tweet from Trump about the real “rocket man,” Okura quips. “This is the real rocket man, he made his own rocket – he built it by himself.”
A documentary is also in the works to record Hughes’ $1.8 million project to catapult him to the the Karman line – the starting point of space.
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