Self-taught rocket scientist propels himself 1,875 feet

A self-taught rocket scientist who believes the Earth is flat propelled himself about 1,875 feet into the air in his homemade vessel before a hard landing in the Mojave Desert that left him slightly bruised.

"Mad" Mike Hughes told The Associated Press he hurt his back but is otherwise fine and was "relieved" after Saturday's launch near Amboy, California.

The launch in the desert town — about 200 miles (321.85 kilometers) east of Los Angeles — was originally scheduled for November. It was scrubbed several times after mechanical and logistical issues with the Bureau of Land Management.

The 61-year-old limo driver converted a mobile home into a ramp and modified it to launch from a vertical angle. For months he's been working on overhauling his rocket in his garage.