Thursday, April 6, 2017

Sadly, Swiss Space Systems (S3) Was A Fraud

Well, There's always Luxemboug.
This trip down memory lane was triggered by a headline at FT Alphaville:
“While the psychological barrier to mining asteroids is high…”
The story begins:
While the psychological barrier to mining asteroids is high, the actual financial and technological barriers are far lower. Prospecting probes can likely be built for tens of millions of dollars each and Caltech has suggested an asteroid-grabbing spacecraft could cost $2.6bn. We expect that systems could be built for less than that given trends in the cost of manufacturing spacecraft and improvements in technology. Given the capex of mining operations on Earth, we think that financing a space mission is not outside the realm of possibility.
That’s from a Goldman Sachs note about investing in the ‘Final Frontier’ market. To be fair, the note also includes analysis of rockets, satellites and launch insurance....MORE
And I couldn't help thinking of this:

It was last seen in 2016's "Luxembourg’s Asteroid Mining Plan" with the line:
...No word on whether they've found a use for fellow former tax haven Switzerland or Swiss Space Systems' chubby little spaceplane....
Unfortunately, in the case of S3, headlines tell the rest of the story:
Swiss space agency boss is kidnapped by hitmen who beat him senseless then tried to burn him alive
Swiss Space Systems founder accused of ‘staging’ own attack
Swiss Space Systems: Just "Fugget About It!"
Swiss Space Systems Declares Bankruptcy-Parabolic Arc
On the other hand, to quote Ted Kennedy when he lost the Democratic Presidential nomination to Jimmy Carter in 1980:
"...The work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."
Again with the headlines:
Luxembourg Invests €25 million in Asteroid Mining 
Luxembourg’s Bid to Become the Silicon Valley of Space Mining
Luxembourg's New Space Mining Law Is Basically "Finders, Keepers"

A compilation image of mining equipment in space
Artist's depiction, not actual asteroid mining

S3 should not be confused with SSO, the Swiss Space Office, which, as far as I know, is not a fraud.