Zero-gravity flight company declared officially bankrupt

Jaussi, pictured, told the press in September 2016 that he and his company had received threats shortly before he was attacked in August. Keystone

Vaud-based company Swiss Space System Holding SA, known as S3, has been officially bankrupt since Monday afternoon, a cantonal court announced on Tuesday.

This content was published on January 17, 2017 - 15:00 and agencies/cl

The district court of the Broye and North Vaud had initially declared S3’s bankruptcy on December 14. The company’s CEO, Pascal Jaussi, filed an appeal, but on January 12 his lawyer indicated that the appeal had been withdrawn.

Founded in 2013, S3 had intended to offer zero-gravity commercial flights for CHF 2,950 ($3,000) on an Airbus A340-300 in 15 worldwide destinations. It had also planned to launch mini-satellites from a shuttle carried on the back of an airplane.

But the company has been dogged by disaster. A criminal investigation is currently underway into a vicious attack on Jaussi, who was abducted and set on fire in August 2016. He had gone on record as saying that his company’s mission was not appreciated by some space industry competitors.

In September, Jaussi declared that his company was in financial trouble, but said that more money was forthcoming to help ameliorate the problem and denied media reports that S3 was being investigated for money laundering. Finally, in November, it was reported that the company was being forced to refund prospective clients some CHF160,000 following repeated delays to the planned services.

S3 is currently the target of numerous lawsuits amounting to well over CHF7 million, with a significant proportion concerning the unpaid salaries of former employees. Canton Vaud is also a creditor, as it provided the company with a CHF500,000 loan.

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