According to Space.com's 02-Feb-2018 article Cosmonauts Break Russian Spacewalk Record During Space Station Antenna Repair:

The cosmonauts spent the day replacing an electronics box for a high-gain communications antenna outside the Zvezda service module. Instead of holding on to the outdated piece of equipment, the cosmonauts tossed the original electronics box overboard, dooming it to burn up in Earth's atmosphere.

According to this answer the orbital mechanics is such that if an object is hand deployed (read "tossed") from the ISS in the nadir plus retrograde (read "down and backwards") direction, it will not intercept (read "hit") the ISS again.

Is this in fact the way this electronics box was deployed?

caption: An old electronics box drifts through space after Russian cosmonauts tossed it away from the International Space Station during a spacewalk on Feb. 2, 2018. Credit: NASA TV

enter image description here

edit: According to Scott Manley's video this is 1998-067NM 43203 ISS DEB

  • $\begingroup$ merge spacewalk tag with eva? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Feb 3, 2018 at 1:41
  • $\begingroup$ To put things into proportion: the ISS orbits Earth inside the atmosphere (the thermosphere layer, specifically). It requires quite a few tons of fuel per year to keep there. So anything passively co-orbiting with the ISS will experience drag and eventually "fall down". The intention of the launch ("toss") was not to "doom it to burn up in Earth's atmosphere" (even though it will eventually), but to simply take care that the trash stays clear of the ISS...and visiting space craft. $\endgroup$
    – Klaws
    Jul 2, 2019 at 15:01

2 Answers 2


The video on this twitter post included in the story linked in your question confirms it was jettisoned nadir and retrograde.


It was thrown retrograde, slightly towards starboard side, to avoid hitting the antennas on Zvezda. The deed was done from the area of berthing of Pirs to Zvezda.

A major part of the EVA, including the throw can be found in the video "Открытый космос. Специальный выпуск / A Year In Space. Special Edition. Outer Space" - a nearly 3-hour segment of that EVA, with original comms, no commentary.

Around 2h26m the segment with throwing the old device begins. In particular, in the video of the cosmonauts taken from external camera (or Cupola?) you can observe the Earth "above" (meaning nadir side), and the cosmonaut's bodycam shows the characteristic ribbing of the surface on the nearer, narrower part of Zvezda and its thicker, farther part.


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