Moonraker

Factual error: Although it's already been mentioned that the scene of the shuttle being stolen from the back of the 747 is impossible because the shuttle wouldn't be fueled while being transported, it should also be noted that even if the shuttle was fueled, it would still be just as impossible: During the getaway, the thieves ignited the shuttle's 3 main engines to get free of the 747 and escape: the thing is, the shuttle's main engines are fueled entirely by the large external tank the shuttle and the solid fuel boosters are attached to during liftoff, and once the tank is jettisoned, these engines cannot be used. The only engines the shuttle's internal fuel feeds are the reaction control thrusters, and the Orbital Maneuvering System (which are the two smaller engines located in the bulges just above the main engines). Both the RCS thrusters and OMS engines are almost totally useless within the atmosphere, so even if the thieves managed to get the shuttle free of the 747, they could only get it as far as it would glide unpowered: In fact, they could probably get it further if it wasn't fueled. It should be noted that this is not a fictional, futuristic spacecraft: It's a bog standard shuttle, stolen from NASA, on the back of the modified 747 used by them to transport the orbiter from its landing site to Cape Canaveral.

Factual error: The space station rotates for pseudo-gravity, but everyone falls along the rotational axis towards the bottom of the screen instead of falling outward from the axis as they actually would. Admittedly this would be difficult to film (Stanley Kubrick's astronaut jogging in a giant hamster-wheel in Space Odyssey - nuff respect) so I guess they just hoped the audience wouldn't know the difference. (01:29:40)

Factual error: Two pilot/astronauts steal a space shuttle by firing it up and launching it off the back of the Boeing 747 transporter. This cannot happen: the 747 can't lift the shuttle with a full fuel load - it only just lifts it empty. It is not a fictional, futuristic spacecraft: It's a bog standard shuttle, stolen from NASA, on the back of the modified 747 used by them to transport the orbiter from its landing site to Cape Canaveral. (Why would they carry a fully fuelled shuttle anyway?).

Factual error: When Jaws jumps from one cable car to the other there is no way he could have leapt the distance he does considering the way he hops off the first cable car.

Paul Bessant

Factual error: As Bond switches his gondola to hovercraft mode in Venice, a large skirt unfolds from the bottom of the craft. There could never be enough room below the deck of a gondola to store the folded skirt plus whatever fans and machinery the air cushion drive would require. (00:38:40)

Doc Premium member

Factual error: When a real shuttle is launched (or any other large rocket) the exhaust must be deflected sideways and guided through massive tunnels or trenches so that it does not bounce back into the base of the vehicle and destroy it. The Moonrakers lift off from inside an enclosed structure with no means of guiding the massive exhaust plume safely away. The tiny tunnel through which Bond and Holly escape would have been utterly useless to vent the exhaust of a real shuttle. In common with other movies, the noise and violence of a real launch simply cannot be portrayed accurately.

Factual error: Drax hides his station by "jamming" Earth radar. However, jamming involves blasting out noise to confuse radar. At the very least, it would alert authorities that something was up there.

Factual error: Jaws cuts one of the steel ropes of the cable car by biting through it. Even with his metal teeth it would have been impossible for him to do that - to cut such a large steel rope would require hundreds of tons of pressure.

Factual error: The station's gravity is turned on and off several times before and during the battle. The film establishes the gravity is on because the station is rotating. Bond and Holly turn off the gravity to prevent the Americans from being shot down. Then, after the American Marine shuttle docks, gravity is restored and is never seen being deactivated again. However, the station begins to take on serious damage from the battle and literally begins falling apart. Even setting aside the fact that the mass shifts would affect the station's ability to produce gravity, the external shots of the damaged station don't indicate it's even rotating anymore, but everyone inside is still able to move around as if gravity is still active up to the final destruction of the station.

Vader47000

Factual error: Space shuttles are designed to glide and not fly like a plane - even if the stolen shuttle was flown off the plane it would not make it to Drax's jungle base.

Factual error: Moonraker 6 with Holly and James on board jettisons its booster rockets after reaching space. The solid fuel boosters are jettisoned after they burn out at about 50 km height, far below orbit. Their empty weight is considerable, it is highly doubtful if the shuttle would even be able to carry them into orbit. (01:28:55)

Doc Premium member

Factual error: When Bond and Goodhead's space shuttle enters space, it still has the main fuel tank attached. However, when Bond releases the fuel tank it falls downward. It should maintain its momentum in orbit around the Earth until atmospheric drag (which extends out to high orbit) causes the orbit to decay over many years.

Tobin OReilly

Factual error: When James Bond is in the control room of the secret base, I think it's when the second shuttle takes off, there's the time at the bottom of the TV screen moving forward, but it's written T- instead of T+.

Dr Wilson

Factual error: There are way more Marines in the American shuttle than it should be able to hold.

jbrbbt

Factual error: Vandenburg does not have the capability to launch space shuttles and even if it did you can't just launch a shuttle just like that. It takes weeks if not months to prepare a shuttle for launching, the booster rockets have to be properly cooled, etc. and somehow the Marines conveniently have a shuttle ready to go on a whim.

jbrbbt

Factual error: When the space station starts to rotate to generate artificial gravity, the crews from the space shuttles can be seen walking along the tunnels. The gravity would be pulling them back towards the shuttles - acting outwards from the center of the space station.

Factual error: The space station rotates for pseudo-gravity, but everyone falls along the rotational axis towards the bottom of the screen instead of falling outward from the axis as they actually would. Admittedly this would be difficult to film (Stanley Kubrick's astronaut jogging in a giant hamster-wheel in Space Odyssey - nuff respect) so I guess they just hoped the audience wouldn't know the difference. (01:29:40)

More mistakes in Moonraker

[The staff of MI6 are watching a large screen that shows Bond and Dr. Goodhead making love in space.]
Minister: My god, what's Bond doing!?
Q: I think he's attempting re-entry, sir.

More quotes from Moonraker

Trivia: One of Drax's "master race" was Melinda Maxwell, daughter of Lois Maxwell - "Miss Moneypenny".

More trivia for Moonraker

Question: What did Bond say in front of Drax which made Jaws reluctant to send Bond to his death in space?

Onesimos

Chosen answer: His comments to Drax were about the physical and mental perfection that Drax required for those chosen to repopulate the Earth. As Dolly (Jaw's girlfriend) needs glasses, she falls short of those criteria (as, quite probably, does Jaws himself), which makes him wonder whether Drax won't simply get rid of them once he's carried out his plan. As such, he chooses to ally himself with Bond rather than risk Dolly being harmed.

Tailkinker Premium member

More questions & answers from Moonraker

Join the mailing list

Separate from membership, this is to get updates about mistakes in recent releases. Addresses are not passed on to any third party, and are used solely for direct communication from this site. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Check out the mistake & trivia books, on Kindle and in paperback.