Minnesota 'Rocketman' makes face masks his pandemic passion

A father and son duo known for their parachute and rocket-making skills have turned their efforts towards fun masks during the pandemic.

A Bloomington father and son have turned their love of rockets and need for speed into a passion for making masks.

Ky and Buddy Michaelson hope their efforts are a launching pad for beating the coronavirus.

In a non-descript storefront in a Bloomington strip mall, an homage to masks has taken off. Rocketman face masks has more than 500 designs, but they all have one mission: to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

"It’s fun because it makes kids actually want to wear masks and makes people want to wear masks because they are cool and unique and it matches their personality," said Buddy Michaelson.

Their designs include Christmas, Scooby Doo, cigars, Mickey Mouse, Pokemon, Fred Flinstone and more.

Buddy Michaelson is used to saving lives. He’s been making parachutes for skydivers and rocket launchers for years, but when the pandemic started in March, he turned his skills towards making masks.

"Once the word got out online that we were making masks, people were knocking at our door," he said. "All the way from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., all hours of the day, wanting masks because you couldn’t find masks anywhere of any quality. So, people kept coming to our doorstep wanting anything they could get."

Buddy’s partner is his sewing circle is his father Ky, who is also known as "The Rocketman."

He’s built everything from rocket-powered cars to rocket-powered toilets. Even though he was the first private citizen to put a rocket in space, he says working with his son to make masks during a pandemic has launched his heart into the stratosphere.

He said, just like setting world records, making masks is very rewarding and a good feeling.

7-days a week, Buddy and his dad spend 12 hours a day cutting and sewing face coverings made of two layers of cotton with a polypropelene filter, which is the same material used in N-95 masks.

Since March, they’ve made more than 50,000 masks, which they’ve sold for $5 each at pop-ups around Bloomington, before opening the store at the end of October.

Their masks run the gamut from silly to supreme. As long as they’re needed, the dynamic duo hopes their business continues to soar.

Rocketman Face Masks is open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but you can also make orders on its website.