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In earth orbit, it would have outshone every star in the sky. It was never seen once it left the earth by any of the hundreds of thousands of people who gaze at the night sky regularly. It should have been spotted passing over every orbit during Apollo 8, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 & 17. So why weren’t they seen? They were on their way to the Moon!     Simple isn't it?

Where did they go?

The moon trip was fake but not the earth orbiting bit.

The problem with this is that anybody can just look up at the sky and see satellites passing over. Try it yourself, they look like moving stars. The Apollo command module, service module and lunar module together were a substantial size. It would have been the brightest satellite of the time. You couldn't miss it. I have written an entire book and website on the subject ‘Satellite Spotting & Operations Handbook’ available via

Observations were made of Apollo 7 & 9 passing across the sky for the duration of those missions as they did indeed remain in Earth orbit. Apollo 7 tested the Command Module and then Apollo 9 concentrated on the Lunar Module with engine burns and docking / undocking practice etc. 

I have recorded many satellites with an image intensifier. It just demonstrates how easy they are to see. The Apollo-LM configuration would have stood out like a beacon; brighter than any other satellite at the time.