In the YouTube Trailer for the PBS program A Year in Space at 00:56 a small spinning object can be seen, attached to a spacecraft well above the ISS. I think the video is significantly speeded up so the object looks blurred.

It reminds me a bit of the RapidScat (shown below), a microwave scatterometer that measures near-surface wind speed and direction, mentioned here and explained here.

Is this an antenna of some kind or something else? What spacecraft is it attached to?

below: RapidScat


below: GIF from the YouTube Trailer at about 00:56. The motion is clearer in the original video linked below it.

GIF from video

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    $\begingroup$ In your 2nd image, why do you say the spinning object is attached to the ISS? The whole ISS is visible far away. The spinning object appears to be mounted on the Soyuz. $\endgroup$ Oct 29, 2017 at 2:27
  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble a minor detail (blush). I'll rewrite and try to be more careful when posting after midnight in the future. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Oct 29, 2017 at 4:07
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    $\begingroup$ Why don't you think it's a RapidScat? $\endgroup$
    – RonJohn
    Oct 29, 2017 at 4:27
  • $\begingroup$ @RonJohn I don't any more, thanks. I've recently updated the question; now I only mention now that it reminds me of the RapidScat. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Oct 29, 2017 at 4:32

2 Answers 2


That is the "Kurs system 2AO" antenna on a Soyuz. It measures line-of-sight heading and pitch angles.



This is a rotating antenna, part of the Kurs docking system on Soyuz and Progress spacecraft

See e.g. This video of a docking


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