The movie is loosely based on the novel "Orbit" by Thomas H. Block, from 1982. In the novel, a hypersonic plane on a cruise from New York City to Sydney exceeds its cruise altitude, due to sabotage by a revenge-seeking company engineer.
This was Jocelyn Brando's final acting role before her death on November 27, 2005, at the age of eighty-six.
The logo for the Starflight airline bears a strong resemblance to that of Rockwell International, the company that constructed the Space Shuttle orbiters. The movie was released in 1983, two years after the first orbital shuttle mission.