Historical Videos of Launch Operations

These film clips show personnel from the space program in action, and offer insight in how the Apollo launch operations evolved.

Saturn V AS-500F “Twang” Test at the VAB

Official NASA footage of Saturn V twang test, October, 1966. The test determined the mechanical spring constant of a full Saturn V stack — the natural frequency at which the vehicle would rock if motion were induced.

Here, two teams of employees working together rock the Saturn V stack back and forth inside the Vehicle Assembly Building. The first team, at the command module level, pulls it with ropes; and the second team pushes the service module with their feet. The test was very low tech but still effective. Color.

Apollo 8 CDDT Footage

Technicolor Corp.’s official NASA footage of Firing Room 1 during the Apollo 8 Countdown Demonstration Test (CDDT) on December 11, 1968. The footage shows Areas A, B, and C of the Firing Room, and quick glimpses of some key personnel such as Dr. Hans Gruene.  No sound. Color.


Saturn:  LC-34 Video, Ca. 1961 – with Dr. Kurt Debus


Dr. Debus in the film

Part 1. This part contains pre-Apollo film of Dr. Debus, describing an earlier version of the Saturn rocket assembly and launch. Rocco Petrone makes a brief, non-speaking appearance towards the end. Color.

Part 2 of the same film.  Dr. Debus speaks in this clip as well, continuing his talk on the Saturn rocket assembly and launch. Color.

Dr. Wernher von Braun’s Collaborations with Walt Disney

Walt Disney and Dr. Werner Von Braun, 1954

Walt Disney and Dr. von Braun, 1954

Dr. von Braun made three pre-Apollo Live Action/Cartoon collaborations with Walt Disney in the 1950s, with the idea of sparking the imagination of the American public about space and space travel.  In addition to speaking in the films, Dr. von Braun also was technical advisor, and ensured the accuracy of the artists’ representations of the rockets.  For more information, see the attached article on von Braun and Walt Disney.

A Trip Around the Moon, 1955 – Von Braun describes a possible first trip around the moon.  Color.

Mars and Beyond, 1957 – from the “Disneyland” series.  This episode describes man’s relationship with the stars over the years, continuing with a section on whether life exists on Mars and what that life might be like (filled with very imaginative animation); and ending with a section on what a trip to Mars might be like.  Von Braun’s section starts about 40 minutes in.  B&W.

Man in Space, 1959 – Von Braun explains the components of the future space program. Color.  


Historical Videos of Launch Operations — 5 Comments

    • Most of these clips came from YouTube. The premier source for outstanding video footage of the early space program is Mark Gray’s Spacecraft Films (http://www.spacecraftfilms.com). He has amazing compilations, many with theater-quality bass added to make you feel the rush of rocket launches!

      Jonathan H. Ward

  1. Hello

    I came to this website looking for the video of the Saturn 5 “twang test” as promised in your book…..maybe I am looking in the wrong place?

    If the video is here somewhere, please advise, thanks.


    • Thanks for the catch! We had accidentally removed the link when adding something else. It should be working again now. Enjoy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *