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Bloomington Art Center - Inez Greenberg Gallery










About The Artist: “Rocketman” Ky Michaelson
August 4 – September 8, 2006

Ky Michaelson, a.k.a., “Rocketman” has been interested in rockets and speed since he was a child. At the early age of 12, Michaelson was given a Gilbert chemistry set for Christmas. That was his start in learning to experiment with various chemicals. It wasn’t long after that he learned how to make black powder, which led him to create his very first rocket motor. Although challenged with Dyslexia, Michaelson focused his academic energies into these and many other creations including a radio which he built and brought to school in a hollowed out math book. In 1969, Michaelson built a rocket-powered snowmobile that made its way into the Guinness World Book of Records. After accomplishing his first world record he decided to go after every acceleration record in the world. In twelve years, Michaelson’s rocket –powered vehicles set 72 state, national, and international speed records.

Michaelson has turned his passion into a career. As a stunt coordinator and stunt equipment creator/innovator, Michaelson has worked on over 200 films, television programs, and commercials including numerous Burt Reynolds movies and “That’s Incredible” television episodes. There have been literally hundreds of feature articles written about Michaelson and his adventures.

Throughout the years Michaelson has always held a great interest in space exploration.
Most recently he concentrated his efforts on rocketry. On May 17, 2004, Michaelson and his Civilian Space eXploration Team (CSXT) were the first civilians to get a federal license to launch a rocket above 100 kilometers, the official boundary of space. While accomplishing this lifelong dream, Michaelson reached yet another speed record of 3,420 mph.

Through all these adventures and record breaking activity Michaelson has held a high aesthetic criterion for his rocket-powered items. Each piece has been painstakingly hand crafted, and fabricated without the use of blue prints or written plans. Even when found or pre-fabricated items are used to complete a piece, Michaelson spends much time considering the complete and overall visual affect.

The Bloomington Art Center views Michaelson’s work as functional sculpture, seeing in them their crafted beauty as well as their completely functional use. We are excited to showcase this local talent, his adventurous life, and his quest for beautifully crafted rockets.

About The Works

Rocket Powered Motorcycle
"The Human Fly"
Rocket Powered Motorcycle

Built in 1977 for the comic book character "The Human Fly". The motorcycle has two 1500 lb thrust Hydrogen rockets. The motorcycle is capable of going 220 mph in 5 seconds. The Human Fly jumped over 26 buses with this bike in 1977 in Montreal, Canada.

Rocket Powered Go Kart
Rocket Powered Go Kart
Built in 2000, this is the third rocket go-kart Michaelson built. In 1976 he built a rocket powered go-kart which set a world speed record of 248 mph in a quarter mile, driven by Pat Best.

Model Rocket
Model Rocket
This is a 85% model of the rocket which Michaelson and his Civilian Space Exploration Team (CSXT) launched into space in 2004. It is the first civilian built rocket to break the space barrier reaching an altitude of 72 miles with a speed of 3,420 mph.

Rocket Powered Luge
Rocket Powered Luge
Built in 1999, this vehicle is powered by water pressurized by 3000 psi of Nitrogen. The water is forced out of the nozzle creating thrust. Estimated top speed of over 120 mph.

Rocket Powered Sled
Rocket Powered Sled
Tired of pulling his sled up the hill, Michaelson built this rocket powered sled in 1999, so he could drive the sled up the hill and then slide down. The sled uses a solid propellant rocket motor to push it.

Rocket Powered Snowmobile
Rocket Powered Snowmobile
Originally built in 1975 for Lee Smith. Though Mr. Smith modified it many times, Michaelson bought the Rocket Sled back after Smith died to add to his collection.

Rocket Powered Scooter
Rocket Powered Scooter
Built in 2003, Michaelson's son Buddy drove this Rocket Scooter when he was just five years old. The Scooter is powered by a Hybrid Rocket that uses Oxygen and plastic to propel it.

"Gismo" - Rocket Powered Bicycle
"Gismo" - Rocket Powered Bicycle
Built in 2006 for Michaelson's wife Jodi. It is powered by two 75lb. Thrust Hybrid Rocket Motors. The frame is made of lightweight T6-6061 aircraft aluminum. "Gismo" features a unique front suspension system designed by Michaelson.

Rocket Powered Wheelchair
Rocket Powered Wheelchair
Michaelson built this chair in 1997, because if he ever needed a wheel chair he wants it to be rocket powered. The rocket uses 90% Hydrogen to propel it.

"The SS Flusher"
"The SS Flusher"
Rocket Powered Toilet

America's secret weapon built in 2001 powered by a 1000 lb thrust Hybrid Rocket Motor. The rocket motor starts when you push the flush button.

Rocket Powered Trike
Rocket Powered Trike
Built in 2004 for Michaelson's son Buddy. The Trike is powered by a 400lb thrust. With a Hybrid Rocket Motor the Trike has disk brakes and is made of lightweight aluminum.

Rocket Powered Car
Rocket Powered Car
Built in 1976 this car holds the world's acceleration record at 412 mph in 3.22 seconds. Driven by Hollywood stunt woman Kitty O'Neil, the record was set in 1977. The rocket motor burns 30 gallons of 90% Hydrogen Peroxide in less than 4 seconds.

Rocket Chair
Rocket Chair
Built in 2005 the world’s only flying Rocket Chair is powered by a 500lb Thrust Hydrogen Peroxide Rocket Motor. It burns 7 gallons of 90% Hydrogen Peroxide in approximately 45 seconds of flight.

Twin Engine BSA Motorcycle
Twin Engine BSA Motorcycle
Built in 2000, this is the third BSA twin engine motorcycle built by Michaelson. In 1962 Michaelson raced and set records with a motor just like this.

Michaelson 005 Motorcycle Replica
Michaelson 005 Motorcycle Replica
Built in 2005, Michaelson copied a 1910 Michaelson Minneapolis motorcycle frame that his Great Uncle John Michaelson built. It is handcrafted using more up to date components. Its top speed is 65 mph.

Rocket Powered Back Pack
Rocket Powered Back Pack
In 1976, Michaelson's son Curt used this Rocket Powered Back Pack to set a roller skate speed record of 52 MPH. Known as "Captain Roller Ball", Curt traveled the country setting records. Even with 250 lbs of thrust, Curt never fell.

Flying Rocket Belt
Flying Rocket Belt
Built in 2005, the Rocket Belt is powered by a 500 lb thrust Hydrogen Peroxide Rocket. It is made out of Aircraft aluminum and stainless steel. Some of the hardware that is used on the Belt came from surplus aerospace rocket motors.

High Speed Margarita Blender
The motor of a 'Weed Eater' powers this blender. The rest of the Blender is made of odds and ends lying around the shop.

What People Are Saying About The Works

Here is what they are saying about Ky Michaelson’s Exhibition.

Ky- Thanks so much for coming over to visit with us about your beautiful machines and your many adventures. This is the greatest exhibit ever.
Duane Maas

Incredible I’m exhausted
K. Fairbrothen

I had to come to see your wonderful work. Congratulations
Bonnie and Jon Morer

Very interesting
Ed and Marie Pederson

Absolutely Awesome
Jim Murphy

What a wonderful life story you told. You have inspired many people with your
Lecture. Good luck in the future. Thank you for a great evening.
Leander J Poppler

Very inspiring our 7-year-old son wants to make creations now!
Rande Lisa Eli Aronson

That was pretty cool I want him to make a rocket chair
Hassan Eibakri

Awesome exhibit! a beautiful showcase of your work. Keep it coming!
John Gissen

Excellent work, great creativity
Leonora Fallows

Cool Fantastic! Our Grandson loved it Ill tell other people to come.
Jan Harris

Congratulation. Great job you are contributing to the human welfare.
Juan Ceballos

Wow!! I want to ride everything you make. Call me if you need a test pilot.
Mark Reilly

Keep those rockets blasting.
Joe Michael

Beautiful. Inspiring; impressive. Pure joy in motion
Patricia Mess

To know you is to love you.
Mark and Debbie Rochford

This display was better then I could I could imagine. I did not know there was such a great artist living so close to me.
James F Jordan

As a closet Gear head, I find it most fascinating, and enjoyable…
Bradley Thomas

Thanks for the exhibit. We talk you every time we drive by your house. Best Wishes!

Love the work, especially to aesthetics; love the art, science, and weirdness it is inspirational. Wow!
Ranaga Farbiart

Back for a third visit. Glad we have such a creative person in our midst. It puts Bloomington on a higher plane.
Tom Burgeson

Guys like you have made America great!! Love that A10 BSA.
Sport Wheels

We drive past your beautiful home all the time, so glad to see your grand work and all of your hearts desire. You fallow your dreams! God Bless you and yours.
Pat and Sandy Tuzinski

I enjoyed it so much the second time as the first, beautiful machining and design. I am impressed beyond words, total genius.
Lloyd and Terri Rogoski

I have never saw anything like it. I loved it so Much
Emilly Anderson

Ky you have come a great distance since back in the car club days. Great job.
Jan Elftmann

The Toilet was amazing it makes me chuckle, But every thing was really great. Can’t wait to here how the rocket chair goes.

You did it, your Mom would be so proud of you. I know I am. Congratulations on your accomplishments. You are the Rocketman.
Devi Orloff

Totally Great, so happy Bloomington has the chance to see this unique talented display by an artistic Genius.
Ed Walior

What a great display!
Evan Culhose

Way cool. I want the Rocket Chair in my house.
Bradley Hanson

I was extremely impressed with your science, creativity and craftsmanship. The video of your stunts were truly amazing.
Judy Bergstrom

Fantastic Stuff. You are totally inspirational to us!
Rob and Denise Lyons

What a display! Congratulations on all of your achievements.
Elray and Elise Kille

Always on the edge.
Steven Ruane

Clean really nice work.
Wayne Ratliff

Far out!!
Al Chase

Ky and Jodi it’s about time you get recognized in a format like this show.
Rob and Helen Davis

What a fantastic exhibit. I really enjoyed talking with you about your rocket-powered Machines Ky.
Duane Mars

Very amazing! Great job Rocketman.
Jerry and Wyatt Harren

Wow- very impressive don’t stop
Ken, Vickie and Nick Erickson

Great exhibition, thank you for sharing it with the public.
Jim Koepke

Because of this exhibit I joined the gallery.
Mary Ann Finegan

It is a honor to have meet you. Truly you have lived a full and blessed life.
Cindy Skow

We have been driving past your house for over 12 years with out knowing what was going on inside, Wow! Now we know! Thanks very exciting, entertaining and inspiring
Simon Family

It was nice to meet you and your son. We enjoyed the stories and the history of your work. It’s a great exhibit
Gene and Norma Maas

It is inspiring (especially to kids with learning “differences”) to see the accomplishments that come with not giving up on your dreams! Enjoyed by all of us Thank You.
The Pribyl Family

Dad you are Awesome.

“Spectacular! Terrific! a wonderful Exhibit.
Bob Hines

Wow! Thank you for the most interesting exhibit of the wonders of your rocket skills. Keep up the interesting challenges.
Catherine Rundell

Fantastic! I’m going take my Grandson Son back here this week.
Joanne Hacker

Pretty Cool! The most Awesome thing that I have ever seen.
Deb Coleishaye

Rocketman you are a genius! Your stuff is so cool. I wish I were your son.
Ron Dyeli

Absolutely wonderful
Sid and Marsha Kasper

Great exhibit!! Loved the video!!
Sue Amundson

Wow! Keep on inventing our future.
Brian Olson

Genius does not begin to explain this man, or his continuing achievements.
Paulette and Karol

Assisted Living home really enjoyed seeing all of the exhibition.
Judy Lindahl

Beautiful work. Great creations. Please keep up the great creations.
Chuck Cramer

Must see to believe all the amazing innovations
Sara Tessier

Thanks for sharing this to the public. Where can I learn more?
Andrew P Tas

Excellent display of extremely, interesting equipment.
Ed Tisehlder

The Art of the Machine.
Toni and JoAnn Forte

This is fantastic! I would like to bring the kids to see the garage where other amazing items are kept! Thanks for sharing.
Cathy Currier

I understand that I was in the presence of greatness. Your passion gives me the chills. If only everyone had a chance to find The Rocketman in themselves.
Tracey Johnson

Truly pure artistry- breathtaking and awesome.
Marty Ledermon

Great Man. What’s going to be next?
Diane Airhart

Thank you for sharing your gift, talents, and dreams with us.
Dick and Vera Lind

Wonderful Exhibit, and truly inspirational stories.
Suzanne Colegrore

Wow- this was great! Can’t wait to bring the kids Thanks.
Kim Pederson

Fantastic work! Were spreading the word!!
Ollie and Carol Thomas

Ky, almost too much to take in. You lived the life that most of us dream of. It is good to know you.
Steve Katzner

Cool, neat, clean display all is real Craftsmanship. Keep up the good work, hope to see more.
Bob Robbs

What an amazing life. It was great to meet the Rocketman.
Kevin Johnson

Cool fun, awesome. Really lovely art.
Yula Yentl

It’s awesome! It’s so nice and cool in here, I am so proud of you Ky.
Jodi, Miracle, Buddy Michaelson

Wow what talent we have amongst us.
Jan Tree

Nice to finally meet Ky, and see the projects he has developed.
Paul and Pat Olsen

Growing up and working in Bloomington I have always admired Mr Michaelson! I’m glad this was all able to be displayed, and able to be so close!
J. R. Kissel

Totally Freaking Awesome.
Bruce Lee

Incredible workmanship, and vision. A great sense of adventure.
Jeff Hove

Sweet we want all of it.
Greg Anderson

Very interesting loved all the cool stuff.
Sarah Johnson

Wow! Amazing work-I have read and heard about you over the years- you have such a passion for your craft, congrats on your wonderful exhibition. My 9-year-old son is in awe.
LuAnn and Ben Paul

Copyright © 2006 The Rocketman