Ky Michaelson's Rocketboys are ready for their first test launch, and tensions are high as they count down to liftoff. Ahead of Thursday's premiere of Homemade Astronauts on discovery+, Michaelson and his team take a crucial step in their dream of becoming the first amateurs to build and launch a fuel-powered, manned space rocket, which you can catch a sneak peek of here on PopCulture.
The real-life Minnesota "Rocketman" Michaelson is chasing new heights after becoming the first civilian to build and launch an unmanned rocket into space, and with the help of son Buddy and entrepreneur Kurt Anderson, the Rocketboys are on their way as they cross their fingers, hope for the best and press the launch button.
Things are all looking good until the main parachute is deployed, but releases all tangled up. "The parachute is the most important recovery equipment on the rocket," Anderson explains. "That twisting together is not a good thing. We need that rocket to recover the data and it is literally picking up speed every foot it's coming down."
Ultimately, the chute untangles, and the rocket is safely carried to the ground, which the team considers a win in their books. Then comes finding the rocket in their test field, which Michaelson notes isn't nearly as easy as last time for one delicious reason. "Last time it was a dirt field, a few months later we got five-foot of corn!" he laughs.
Homemade Astronauts dives deep into the rarely-seen world of amateur space travelers, following the backyard space race as private civilians set out to create their own home-built rockets and spacesuits. In addition to Michaelson, the discovery+ series follows the late "Mad Mike" Hughes, who died in February 2020 during filming as he attempted to launch himself a full mile off the ground using a steam-powered rocket. The launch did not go as planned, and Hughes died following his dreams.
Also featured in the series is anthropology professor Cameron Smith, who is dedicated to creating a spacesuit that can withstand all the elements of space travel, with the ultimate goal of taking himself to the Armstrong line — 60,000 feet above the ground. Using supplies from around the house, Smith's ingenuity knows no bounds as he follows his dream.
Homemade Astronauts premieres on discovery+ on Thursday, May 13. Homemade Astronauts is 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.