A man who has made a name for himself for trying to find his own way to space has died. Mike Hughes died on Saturday during an experiment that was being filmed for an upcoming series on Science Channel, Homemade Astronauts. Hughes was 64, and was one of three teams participating in the series.
The accident happened during a fundraiser, in which Mike Hughes hoped to raise money for his expensive ventures that would ultimately take him into space. To help raise money for that, Hughes launched himself in a steam-powered rocket that was set to go 5,000 feet in the air. In a video released online, it appeared the parachute attached to the rocket detached on launch, and the rocket crashed back into the ground without slowing.
According to The Wrap, the ultimate plan for Mike Hughes was to develop a "Rock-oon," which was part rocket and part balloon. Using that, Hughes hoped to reach the area between Earth's atmosphere and space, the Karman line. Hughes passion for space travel came from the Flat-Earther movement, in which Hughes seeked to prove the world was not spherical as is commonly taught in science today. In addition to being a part of Science Channel's Homemade Astronauts, Hughes had been featured on other television shows like Tosh.0.
As previously mentioned, Homemade Astronauts is following two other teams. Ky Michaelson is the first civilian to have sent an unmanned rocket into space. Cameron Smith hopes to take a hot air balloon 60,000 feet into the air in order to test out his space suit. Science Channel announced the series in 2019, with a release date announced for sometime in 2020. It is unknown if the passing of Mike Hughes will impact the series' release.
The Science Channel had a representative release a statement on the death of Mike Hughes. The statement is short, but acknowledges the network's involvement with the Homemade Astronauts star ahead of his tragic accident:
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mike Hughes’ 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.
While Mike Hughes has had difficulties with rocket travel in the past, he has had a couple successful launches. Despite the polarizing nature of the Flat-Earth movement, Science Channel's Homemade Astronauts was made to focus on individuals looking to find their way to space with "with old-fashioned grit and self-determination." Hughes, who once set a Guinness World Record ramping a Lincoln Town Car stretch limousine, was a man daring enough to try, and will hopefully be shown as that should Homemade Astronauts air.
CinemaBlend would like to offer its condolences to the family and friends of Mike Hughes, and wish them well during this difficult time.