The story of the three astronauts of the NASA mission Apollo 9: Jim McDivitt, Dave Scott and Rusty Schweickart. The slow motion pictures of the astronauts before the launch are accompanied by the Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" music. The spiritual affinity between pop culture and the moon landing project is also expressed in the names of the spaceships "Spider" and "Gumdrop".
The first part of the film shows the preparations for the flight. With Apollo 9, NASA tested the lunar module "Spider" in orbit around the Earth for the first time. The undocking and redocking of the Lunar Module with the mother ship was rehearsed. In the second part of the film we see the launch of Apollo 9 and the manoeuvres of the three astronauts. First the Lunar Module is manoeuvred out of the transport container and docked to the mothership "Gumdrop". Then we see longer space walks of the astronauts. Then the actual docking manoeuvre takes place. To the sounds of Bach's "Air" Spider floats away. With these tests the suitability of the shuttle for the moon landing should be tested.
The film was produced in 1969 by Drew Associates. Anne Gilbert, the film's editor, was fascinated by the high-speed shots of the astronauts' bobbing heads with their glass helmets. She suggested the Beatles' classic "Yellow Submarine" as the theme music. The music lends a playful quality to the short film shot for NASA.