Are there any known and verified examples of sabotage of a launch vehicle destined for Earth orbit or beyond?

...or at least widely regarded as 'very likely'? Attempted but unsuccessful examples could count if they came really close. Rock throwing wouldn't count for example.

Sub-orbital launches are excluded, as they could be weapons delivery (actual or tests) and sabotage could be considered self-defense. "Pilot error" type events are also excluded. I'm asking about things like this:

Gary Seven

above: Screen shot or file photo from the Star Trek original series episode Assignment: Earth, (#20, Season 2) where Gary Seven is sabotaging a rocket launch. This is the only image of rocket sabotage I could find, but this kind of thing wouldn't count for this question as it was a sub-orbital launch. Photo from here.

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    $\begingroup$ Hard to prove a negative, but I'm certainly not aware of any. Sabotage could explain things like the Polyus launch, but Hanlan's Razor makes simple accident a much more likely explanation. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 2:58
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    $\begingroup$ You ruled it out so posting as a comment, but the slave laborers building V2s committed sabotage when they could v2rocket.com/start/chapters/mittel.html $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 4:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Andy there is a link, follow it and read further before you make value judgements. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 6:35
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    $\begingroup$ Props for a photo of Gary Seven and Isis. $\endgroup$
    – zeta-band
    Commented Oct 5, 2016 at 18:49
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    $\begingroup$ Gary Seven's more or less a good guy, not a bad guy. memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Gary_Seven $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 6, 2016 at 14:46

1 Answer 1


A speculative example for the Proton can be found. This incident is apparently not a closed case, but it is the best I could find. According to TASS 3 of the 6 angular rate sensors were installed upside-down, and according to sites which do not seem to list their sources (so I have not linked them) the sensors are very hard to install upside-down, but that is conjecture as far as I'm concerned because I cannot find any good sources for that data.

  • $\begingroup$ Stay tuned for breaking news any day... they're closing in on Johnny Depp now! :-) $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Oct 7, 2016 at 17:56

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