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Limo Driver Prepares to Fly a Mile in Homemade Rocket

'If you're not scared to death, you're an idiot'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 22, 2017 5:35 PM CST

(Newser) – The countdown to launch creeps closer and there's still plenty for self-taught rocket scientist "Mad" Mike Hughes to do: Last-second modifications to his vessel. Pick up his flight suit. Leave enough food for his four cats—just in case anything happens. Hughes is a 61-year-old limo driver who's spent the last few years building a steam-powered rocket out of salvage parts in his garage, reports the AP. His project has cost him $20,000, which includes Rust-Oleum paint to fancy it up and a motor home converted into a ramp. His first test of the rocket will also be the launch date—Saturday, when he straps into his homemade contraption and attempts to hurtle over the ghost town of Amboy, Calif. He will travel about a mile at a speed of roughly 500mph.

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"If you're not scared to death, you're an idiot," says Hughes. But "I like to do extraordinary things that no one else can do." This will actually be the second time he's constructed and launched a rocket. Previously he traveled 1,374 feet on a rocket launched in Arizona. Down the road, he's intending to build a rocket that takes him to space. Should that happen, Hughes, who believes the Earth is flat, might be surprised by what he sees. But first, he needs to get through Saturday’s launch. He plans to blast off between 2pm and 3pm, reaching an altitude of 1,800 feet, before pulling two parachutes. Following his jump, to be broadcast on YouTube, Hughes says he's going to announce his plans to leap into the race for governor of California. No joke.

(Read more California stories.)

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