“After one and a half orbits a preprogrammed sequence fired the Saturn to send us out of Earth orbit and on our way to the Moon.”

—Buzz Aldrin (NASA SP-350, pg.206)

The two photographs were taken just after translunar injection and before transposition and docking of the Command Module and Lunar Module and jettison of the expended SIVB stage which propelled the spacecraft towards the Moon.

The first photograph was taken looking north to the western USA and western Canada:

The second photograph was taken looking south to Mexico and the Caribbean:

“The engine comes to life; you settle back in your seat; you feel the strong push of that rocket in your back – but in the dark you just can’t see what’s happening. There’s no visual confirmation. The engine stops and you’re floating again. You see a scimitar of light ahead – a sliver of daylight marking the dawn and you are flying back into daylight. In a half minute you are smothered in daylight – it’s overwhelming. You are moving outward from Earth at ten times the speed of a rifle bullet, but you seem to be perfectly motionless. The horizon is growing more and more; you can see Australia off to the right and Japan off to the left. All of a sudden you can see the entire circle – the whole planet Earth exploding away from you into the inky black sky…”

—Neil Armstrong, describing how he felt leaving the Earth (Hamish Lindsey, Tracking Apollo to the Moon, Springer, London, 2001)

From the mission transcript following trans Earth injection:

002:26:38 McCandless:

Apollo 11, this is Houston. You are Go for TLI. Over.

002:26:45 Collins:

Apollo 11. Thank you. [...]

002:44:19 Collins:

Ignition. [Pause.]

002:44:22 Collins:


002:44:26 Armstrong:

Whew! [...]

002:53:03 Armstrong:

Hey, Houston, Apollo 11. That Saturn gave us a magnificent ride.