In the recent Apollo 11 documentary we're shown footage of the mission undertaking a 'trans-lunar injection' burn after having conducted two orbits of the Earth.

Who was filming this sequence?

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  • 6
    $\begingroup$ According to this article, the film may actually be of Apollo 8 rather than Apollo 11, but I was unable to find any further information on the source. As the TLI burn lasted 6 minutes this may be a collection of still frames condensed to a couple of seconds rather than continuous movie film. $\endgroup$ May 4, 2019 at 22:06
  • 5
    $\begingroup$ "During the moments showing the translunar injection maneuver — the propulsive push that sent Apollo 11 toward the moon — Miller used a shot from Apollo 8. He hopes to document these liberties and other aspects of the filmmaking process in a production journal." - Interesting. So where was that filmed from? :-) $\endgroup$
    – Richard
    May 4, 2019 at 22:22
  • $\begingroup$ I'd guess Hawaii, but beyond that I've got nothing. $\endgroup$ May 4, 2019 at 22:36

1 Answer 1


The "TLI burn" was filmed by the crew of Apollo 9 - an Earth-orbit test of the lunar module. As explained in Scott Manley's video on Youtube, How Did The Apollo 11 Documentary Get Film Of The Upper Stage Ignition?, a fully-fueled Saturn V was required to launch Apollo 9. Since the lunar module was extracted before a "TLI burn", the third stage still had lots of fuel and oxidizer. The mission design was to send the third stage into a higher orbit (and eventually heliocentric) in order to get the stage away from the crew, just in case the left over propellants decided to explode.

  • $\begingroup$ So it's not Apollo 11? That's disappointing. $\endgroup$
    – Richard
    May 5, 2019 at 7:10

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