A Californian man who wanted to fly to the edge of outer space to see if the world is actually round has died after his home-built rocket crashed to earth.
In a video posted on the BBC news website, “Mad” Mike Hughes said he didn’t want want to take anyone else’s word for the Earth being a globe.
“I don’t know if the world is flat or round,” he said.
The 64 year old was killed when his rocket crashed on private property near Barstow, California, on Saturday (local time).
A video on TMZ.com showed the rocket taking off, with what appears to be a parachute tearing off during the launch.
The steam-powered rocket streaks upward, then takes around 10 seconds to fall straight back to earth. Shrieks can be heard as the rocket ploughs into the desert.
Darren Shuster, a former representative for Mr Hughes, told TMZ the daredevil was “one-of-a-kind”.
“When God made Mike he broke the mould. The man was the real deal and lived to push the edge. He wouldn’t have gone out any other way! RIP” he told the BBC.
The BBC said 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. Mr Hughes and his team reportedly built his rocket for about $27,000.
In March 2018, Mr Hughes propelled himself about 570 metres into the air. He deployed one parachute and then a second but still had a hard landing in the Mojave Desert in California, and injured his back.
“I’m tired of people saying I chickened out and didn’t build a rocket,” he said at the time.
“I’m tired of that stuff. I manned up and did it.”
In another video posted on his YouTube site, Mr Hughes said he also wanted “to convince people they can do things that are extraordinary with their lives.”