In Scott Manley's video Could An Astronaut Throw Something From Orbit To Earth? at about 02:00 he includes a sequence of images that shows the famous tool bag that was lost from the ISS and entered Earth orbit.

Question: How was this image sequence made, who made it, and from what location was it imaged?

edit: The toolbag is mentioned in What kinds of things have been tossed out of the ISS? and in further detail in this answer. There is separate mention of a lost toolbox as well.

Tool bag from ISS in orbit in space

Scott Manley says that this tool bags lost from the ISS took only 9 months to reenter the atmosphere and result in a fireball over the pacific.


1 Answer 1


I hope this is right...

Question: How was this image sequence made,

Based on trying and failing to do similar: either digital chip on telescope video recording (astro cams or similar), or series of still frames processed (with lights and darks) then post processed and put onto a video timeline. (Note: -its a CCD cam- see at the end for more detail)

who made it, and

Kevin Fetter

from what location was it imaged?

backyard observatory in Brockville, Ontario



NASA's lost toolbag filmed from Earth (Mon 24 Nov 2008 // 21:38 UTC)

The tool bag lost by NASA astronaut Heide Stefanyshyn-Piper during an ISS space walk has been filmed sailing over Earth by a veteran satellite observer over the weekend.

SpaceWeather.com has a video recording of the backpack-sized bag's extended lesson in basic Newtonian physics made by Kevin Fetter from his backyard observatory in Brockville, Ontario.

"It was easily 8th magnitude or brighter as it passed by the 4th magnitude star eta Pisces," Fetter said. We'll just assume that means it was pretty.

The video is hosted here:


Earlier quote was from this article:

ISS TOOLBAG: When Endeavour astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper dropped her toolbag during a spacewalk on Nov. 18th and it floated away, mission controllers probably figured they'd seen the last of it. Think again. Last night, Nov. 22nd, veteran satellite observer Kevin Fetter video-recorded the backpack-sized bag gliding over his backyard observatory in Brockville, Ontario: 900 kB video. "It was easily 8th magnitude or brighter as it passed by the 4th magnitude star eta Pisces," he says.

Youtube video link:

(Lost Tool Bag Filmed In Earth Orbit 89,190 viewsNov 26, 2008)


A week after Heidi Stefanyshyn-Piper lost the $100,000 bag of tools while performing maintenance on the International Space Station, Kevin Fetter captured the orbiting kit from his backyard observatory. This video is converted from a WMV link found at: http://spaceweather.com/archive.php?v... and appears here with the express permission of Kevin Fetter.

One of the comments:

The first sighting was made by Edward Light from New Jersey, using 10x50 binoculars, on the night of November 23. He noticed the bag traveling in space near the Pisces star constellation. Another amateur astronomer, Kevin Fetter, managed to film the object and later posted the video on the Internet. The 50cm X 30 cm bag, is now orbiting the Earth at a height of 400 kilometres.

Further info, that maybe out of date but suggests he uses a CCD type astro cam that you can attach to telescopes for recording:

His telescope is connected to a DVD recorder with a built-in hard drive, and when he watched the footage the next day, he saw a bright object zoom across the view field.


Mr. Fetter has no formal training and lives at home with his mother, who was surprised two years ago when the international media started calling their home about her son's discovery.


Also, clarifying his setup a bit:

now my video setup is complete:) From: Kevin Fetter Date: Sat May 15 2004 - 08:49:46 EDT

Yesterday I purchased a dvd video recorder. So I no longer need to use my computer, are a vcr to video capture. My new tool work very well, now to wait for a clear night to bag another flashing geo sat:) So far I have found 2, and I expect to find more, ha ha ha:) Look out flahing geo sat's here I come:)

It's great, I can scan through the good quality video looking for flashes. This will increase the possible discovery rate alot. I know there more up the to discover:)

Now I can capture video in high quality, and don't have to drag the computer along to do it. I plan on going out to the site by the lake with it's darker sky.


How Amateur Sleuths Spot Satellites

Another notable node on the net of amateur skywatchers is Kevin Fetter of Brockville, Ontario in Canada. He recently got his own column space in the local newspaper by spotting the tool bag of goodies accidently dropped overboard by a spacewalker during a recent stroll outside the International Space Station. Like others, Fetter said it doesn't take much gear to get involved — plop down cash for a good pair of binoculars and a stopwatch and you're in business. "That's how a few observe — but in my case, it cost a lot — over a $1,000 — but worth every cent. I have lots of fun with it. That's what matters to me." Given the power of the Internet and its global outreach to other satellite spotters, Fetter agreed it's like being part of a unified space surveillance force. "That's one way of looking at it — considering we make observations and generate orbital data that others can use," Fetter said.


I think Kevin uses a 4 inch refractor on his GOTO mount (Celestron?) so Im sure he could add some useful info here.

That's right, I use a 4 ince refractor, on a celestron nexstar SLT mount.

The reason I use a wide feild, for satellite tracking, is because of pointing error's in the mount. Doesn't matter how much I do a good alignment, the satellites are not placed, close to the centre of the feild of view. So having a wide feild, is important to making sure the satellite is in the feild of view. Handy on some nights it's clear, when I am working. I just use goto mount to track a flashing geo sat, and record the video for later playback. So no need to stare at the geo sat waiting for it to flash. Once I know where to look, then I can view it on a night I am not working.

From: Kevin Fetter Date: Wed Jul 03 2013 - 12:13:24 UTC off topic - Skyris ccd camera Incase anyone's interested


Typical setup, with modern Skyris:

enter image description here

Last month he used an online telescope for imaging:


  • 3
    $\begingroup$ What a great find! Wouldn't it be nice if Manley actually credited his sources instead of plagiarizing. $\endgroup$ Feb 22, 2022 at 15:57
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble In my opinion Manley is a "benevolent narcissist". $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Feb 22, 2022 at 21:29
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @uhoh intellectual dishonesty is one of my pet peeves $\endgroup$ Feb 22, 2022 at 21:47

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