I find it difficult to believe but there are those out there floating the possibility:
Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC) and NASA had a bad day late last week. A $424 million satellite named Glory, designed to monitor aerosols and solar irradiance that contribute to changes in climate, failed to be properly delivered to space, when the fairing of the company’s Taurus launch system failed to separate from the payload. The extra mass of the dangling nose cone meant that the propulsion system of the upper stage didn’t have enough oomph (to use the technical term) to get it into orbit, delivering it and its valuable payload instead to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean near Antarctica.
While launch systems have become more reliable over the years, launch failures still happen, and failure to separate critical parts at staging is one of the most common cause of them. Because the Taurus is a four-stage system, it has more opportunities to encounter this failure mode than most vehicles. What is very strange, however, is that this is the second such failure in a row for OSC.
Billions of dollars in continuing research grants and vast amounts of political power lie in ensuring that concern over global warming be kept at a boil. So if there were a person or persons concerned that the satellites might come up with the “wrong” answer, they might be highly motivated to make sure that they never got an opportunity to perform their respective missions. Of course, if so, it would behoove them to do so in such a way as to make it look like an accident.
And interestingly, this is exactly the kind of failure that could easily be dressed up for that kind of show. All it takes to prevent a separation is to go up on the gantry after launch processing has been completed and add something to bind the fairing to the stage. Depending on what kind of separation mechanisms are used (mechanical, such as springs, versus explosive), duct tape might even do the job. Of course, it would also take extremely lax security at the launch site, which is inside the boundaries of Vandenberg Air Force Base on the central coast of California.
Intriguing to say the least. The question at the heart of it all is which side would benefit most by hiding the truth.
That seems obvious to me.