About Us

Buddy Michaelson is the General Manager at Rocketman Parachutes. He is the son of Ky Michaelson, former stuntman and expert rocket builder. When Buddy was born, he was given the legal middle name “Rocketman” and he has lived up to that honor. Buddy has spent his entire life around rocketry and parachutes since day one.

By the age of 18, he had already experienced far more than most teenagers. He assisted in building and launching the first civilian rocket to ever reach space (3,420mph, 73.1 miles above earth) in 2014. Buddy also developed the parachutes used in Eddie Braun’s historic Snake River Jump, completing what Evel Knievel tried to do decades prior. Buddy’s parachutes used in Eddie’s jump brought him safely back to Earth after traveling 439mph across the canyon.

He has traveled the world working on fascinating projects. He also has spent numerous hours volunteering his time and knowledge to mentor students and teams of rocketry associations. He teaches them how to build a system to safely recover their rockets after launch.

Rocketman Parachutes is constantly developing and designing new products. Buddy is the innovator of each parachute for the company. In addition to creating new products, he also coordinates all testing for the products.

KY “ROCKETMAN” MICHAELSON BIO Written by Colette Sandstedt

Ky “Rocketman” Michaelson battled the government, gravity and a profound learning disability to become the first civilian to launch a rocket into space. Michaelson has dedicated his life to pioneering space exploration, often from his own garage and backyard. He is the subject of ROCKETMAN: A DOCUMENTARY, a feature documentary on his life that is currently in production.As a young boy in Minnesota, Ky dreamed of being an astronaut, and his early contraptions showed a talent for building. His ancestors were inventors and daredevils, and he followed in their footsteps with a makeshift diving bell, a bicycle with wings – even a hot dog cooker dubbed “Ky’s Little Cremator.”

But no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t learn to read, write or do math. Nobody really knew what dyslexia was back in the 40s, including Ky. His teachers simply thought he was stupid, so Ky dropped out of school in the 9th grade with a chip on his shoulder and “something to prove.”

Inspired by his love of racing, Ky used what he calls his “mechanical photographic mind” to build and race rocket-powered snowmobiles, motorcycles and hot rods – and rocket-powered boats, wheelchairs, sleds, bicycles, roller skates and jet packs. He stunned the crowds at the Bonneville Salt Flats with his rocket race cars, and by 1964, track announcers across the country were calling him “Rocketman.”

Ky and his cars eventually set 72 state, national and international records. In the 1970s he partnered with Kitty O’Neill, a deaf stuntwoman determined to become the fastest woman in the world. That brought Ky to the attention of Dar Robinson, Hollywood’s most famous stuntman.

Together, Ky and Dar worked on over 200 films and TV shows, including Burt Reynolds’ “Stick”, “Hooper” and “Smokey and the Bandit”, as well as “That’s Incredible” and “The World’s Most Spectacular Stuntman.” Their work revolutionized the industry, until Dar’s untimely death in 1986.

Ky headed back home to Minnesota and returned to his first love; rocketry. He started building high-powered altitude vehicles in his garage workshop. Soon, he was breaking every amateur record in the country. Then, he decided to take on the dream of a lifetime: to become the first civilian to launch a rocket into space.

In 1997, Ky formed the Civilian Space eXploration Team with a band of backyard rocketeers, and together they battled sandstorms, government stonewalling, explosions and crashes – and their own resolve. They were up against teams with unlimited resources, but they were undaunted. Finally, on May 17, 2004, Ky and the team launched their GoFast rocket a documented 72 miles up, becoming the first civilians in the world to reach space.

Today Ky consults on films and TV shows, and on projects like stuntman Eddie Braun’s successful jump across the Snake River in 2016, when he completed daredevil superstar Evel Knievel’s attempt. Ky lives in his beloved home state of Minnesota, where he speaks at schools, gives tours of his private museum, and builds something almost every day.

Below is a list of items available in Ky & Buddy The Rocketman’s Store:

  • High, Mid, and Low Power Rocket Parachutes
  • High and Low Powered Rocket Parachutes
  • High Altitude Balloon Payload Recovery Parachutes
  • Drogue Chutes
  • Deployment Bags
  • High Speed Ballistic Chutes
  • Parachutes & Packs For Model Airplanes, UAV, RPV
  • Pilot Chute for Drag Racing Bonneville NHRA
  • Kevlar Flame Proof Chutes
  • High Speed Ballistic Chutes
  • 1/4 Scale Dragster Chutes
  • Hang Glider Chutes
  • Kevlar & Nylon Webbing
  • Kevlar Nomex Flame Shields

Ky Michaelson is a true American Rocketman. Ky has built more rocket-powered vehicles and set more records using rocket power than anyone else in the world. Ky is also the founder of the C.S.X.T. team. On May 17th, 2004, the C.S.X.T. team were the first civilians in the world to officially get licensed. They were also the first to build and launch a rocket into space. The rocket reached a record speed 3,420mph in and an altitude of 72 miles up.

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