Self-taught rocket scientist plans to launch over San Bernardino County ghost town – Orange County Register

By PAT GRAHAM, AP Sports Writer

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. His project has cost him $20,000, which includes Rust-Oleum paint to fancy it up and a motor home he bought on Craigslist that he 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. He will travel about a mile at a speed of roughly 500 mph.

“If you’re not scared to death, you’re an…

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