According to the Discovery Channel (see CNN article below) the latest attempt to use compressed steam propulsion to get to 5000 feet ended in tragedy. It's not yet clear the altitude it reached, previous launches reached 1,374 and 1,875 feet.
The article also says that the Discovery channel says that the eventual goal was the Karman line.
Question: Could this technology have reached the Karman line if suitably funded? I'm not asking if its a useful alternative at this point, but I'd like to know if there was some clear fundamental limitation that would have prevented this from eventually reaching 330,000 feet.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mike Hughes' family and friends during this difficult time. It was always his dream to do this launch, and Science Channel was there to chronicle his journey," the Science Channel said in a statement.
Hughes was scheduled to launch his homemade rocket for a new Science Channel series called "Homemade Astronauts," according to the Discovery Channel website.
Hughes and Waldo Stakes built a steam-powered rocket with the intent of launching Hughes 5,000 feet into the air, the website said.
He eventually hoped to develop a rocket that would launch him 62 miles in the air to where the Earth's atmosphere meets outer space, according to the Discovery Channel.