Credit: Swiss Space Systems
The head of one of Europe’s most ambitious NewSpace companies has been the victim of a bizarre and horrifically violent attack which has left him fighting for his life.
According to a report from the Tribune de Genève (French), and in English here, the founder and CEO of Swiss Space Systems, Pascal Jaussi, was abducted by two assailants on August 26, and then forced to drive into a secluded forest where he was covered in gasoline and set on fire.
Jaussi managed to survive by getting out of the car and calling a friend, but suffered burns over 25% of his body. Reports were withheld from the media until his condition stabilized, but he remains in Lausanne’s CHUV hospital in serious condition.
The story goes on to say that Jaussi has been the target of threats in the past, “related to his work” and that company headquarters in Payerne were vandalized in a 2015 break-in.
Swiss Space Systems is working on SOAR, an air-launched, reusable suborbital space plane which would launch small satellites into space with the help of an expendable second stage. The company recently took delivery of an Airbus A 340-300 which will serve as both the carrier vehicle for the spaceplane, as well as host a global series of parabolic “zero-G” tourist flights.
Like many space startups, S3’s initial timetable has proven overly optimistic. Zero-g flights were originally set to begin in 2015, but were subsequently delayed due to “technical and contractual” reasons. Also placed on hold was an IPO, which was announced as follows:
“The IPO of Swiss Space Systems will be pursued, as well as the option offered to certain customers to convert their ZeroG tickets into company shares. However, the IPO will be postponed to ensure the best possible valuation of S3 when it enters the stock market….The company acknowledges that calendar changes may exercise the patience of its ZeroG passengers. Swiss Space Systems would like to thank all of them for their confidence.