A US daredevil pilot has been killed during an attempted launch of a homemade rocket in the Californian desert.
“Mad” Mike Hughes, 64, crash-landed his steam-powered rocket shortly after take-off near Barstow on Saturday.
A video on social media shows a rocket being fired into the sky before plummeting to the ground nearby.
Hughes was well-known for his belief that the Earth was flat. He hoped to prove his theory by going to space.
Saturday’s launch was reportedly filmed as part of Homemade Astronauts, a new TV series about amateur rocket makers to be aired on the US Science Channel. The project had to be carried out on a tight budget.
With the help of his partner Waldo Stakes, Hughes was trying to reach an altitude of 5,000ft (1,525m) while riding his steam-powered rocket, according to Space.com.
In the video of the launch, a parachute can be seen trailing behind the rocket, apparently deployed too early, seconds after take-off.
In a tweet, the Science Channel said Hughes had died pursuing his dream.
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