Deep in the Mojave Desert Buster takes the hot seat in the MythBusters’ quest to test the myth of the Ming Dynasty Astronaut. Will he defy the laws of gravity and survive an explosive launch into space? Or … not?
The show is about Wan Hu, who …
… was a minor Chinese official of the Ming dynasty and perhaps (though not likely) the world’s first astronaut.
According to legend, early in the 16th century, Wan decided to take advantage of China’s advanced rocket and fireworks technology to launch himself into outer space.
He had a chair built with forty-seven rockets attached. On the day of lift-off, Wan, splendidly attired, climbed into his rocket chair and forty seven servants lit the fuses and then hastily ran for cover. There was a huge explosion. When the smoke cleared, Wan and the chair were gone. He was never seen again. Another legend describes a sled like vehicle with kites attached.
There’s another video clip here.