The Three Stooges In Orbit was the fourth feature film to star the Three Stooges after their 1959 resurgence in popularity. By this time, the trio consisted of Moe Howard, Larry Fine, and Curly Joe DeRita. Released by Columbia Pictures, The Three Stooges In Orbit was directed by long-time Stooge director Edward Bernds. Over the years, Moe would cite Bernds as the team's finest director.
A Professor Danforth (Emil Sitka), who is convinced that the Martians will soon invade Earth, persuades the boys to help him with his new military invention—a land, air and sea capable vehicle (tank cum helicopter cum submarine). In return, Danforth will create a new "electronic animation" machine for the Stooges to use in their TV show.
The Martians, meanwhile send two malevolent alien spies named Ogg and Zogg to Earth to prepare for the invasion. When Moe accidentally sends a television transmission through the Martian's communication device, they are offended and call off the invasion, opting instead to destroy Earth.
Meanwhile, the vehicle is given a test run by the Stooges. In one scene, they enter a nuclear test area, and it so happens that the engine malfunctions. They are in the vicinity of a test rig where a nuclear depth bomb is undergoing a test. The Stooges grab the bomb, thinking it is a carburetor, and fasten it to the engine. Water comes out of the rig, which would have detonated the bomb, and splashes onto Curley. The testers were bewildered by the non-explosion, but the vehicle performs beyond exceptions, even going into space.
However, the Martians steal the vehicle, mount a ray gun on it, and begin destroying selected targets (including Disneyland). The boys sneak onto the craft to stop them, with also the whole US Navy and Air Force determined to stop them with force as well. The Stooges are able to use one of the Martians' ray guns to separate the conning tower from the body of the vehicle. The body, with Ogg and Zogg in it, goes down, and they are killed in the nuclear explosion that followed as the charge detonates when it hits the ocean. Clinging to the auto-rotating helicopter section, the Stooges survive, crashing straight through the roof into the television studio where they work.