Real-Life 'Rocket Man' Prepares to Blast off for Science Channel's Upcoming 'Homemade Astronauts'

DIY rocketeer "Mad" Mike Hughes is preparing to blast off in one of his homemade rockets Saturday in a thrilling stunt that is being filmed for the Science Channel's upcoming Homemade Astronauts series, premiering in 2020.

Homemade Astronauts, being produced by World of Wonder, will follow three self-financed teams of amateur astronauts "in their cosmic quest to explore the final frontier on shoe-string budgets," according to the network.

Hughes and his partner Waldo Stakes put their brains and efforts into a manned rocket that can launch into space, designing a "Rock-oon," described as part rocket, part balloon. It's this invention the team hopes will get Hughes to the Karman line, the border between Earth’s atmosphere and outer space at about 62 miles above the ground. Raising money and attention for their eventual goal, Hughes' first launch will be at 5,000 feet high in a steam-powered rocket.

On the second Homemade Astronauts team is Ky Michaelson, often called the real life "Rocketman" and the first civilian to build and launch an unmanned rocket into space. With that massive achievement on his list, Michaelson is looking to shoot even higher, aiming to become the first amateur to build and launch a fuel-powered, manned space rocket.

Cameron Smith is the leader of the third team, and dedicated to creating a spacesuit that can withstand all the elements of space travel. It won't be a low-stakes test when he finally puts the suit to the test at the Armstrong line, which begins at an altitude of 60,000 feet, which he will reach with the help of a specialized hot air balloon.

Homemade Astronauts is expected to premiere in 2020 on the Science Channel.

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Homemade Astronauts is being produced by World of Wonder. Executive Producers for World of Wonder are Jeremy Simmons, Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato and Tom Campbell. Executive Producer for Science Channel is Caroline Perez. Lindsey Foster Blumberg is Supervising Producer for Science.

Photo credit: Science Channel