The question What kinds of things have been tossed out of the ISS? has a broken YouTube link. This is why it's good to include at least the name of the video in your post (which I didn't back in 2016). I got it from the Science20 post Why A Ball Thrown To Earth From Orbit "Boomerangs". Can Astronauts Hit Earth With A Ball, Arrow Or Bullet? where the link is also broken. The (missing) video is introduced as:

Here is a steel ball thrown out of the ISS to help test how well ground stations can track orbital debris

Any ideas what steel ball this could be, or how I might go about tracking another video of the event down?


1 Answer 1


The ODERACS (Orbital DEbris RAdar Calibration Spheres):

Five-centimeter balls were detected by the Don-2N radar with an experimental processing program with incoherent accumulation of about a dozen signals at a target height of 352 km and at a distance of 500-800 km (tracking up to 900-1500 km).

  • $\begingroup$ The ODERACS-2 were released from the Shuttle Orbiter on STS-63, not from ISS. $\endgroup$
    – costrom
    Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 23:13
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    $\begingroup$ Downvoted until a reference is provided showing that these were launched from the ISS. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 3:56
  • $\begingroup$ @OrganicMarble STS-60 in 1994. $\endgroup$
    – A. Rumlin
    Commented Nov 27, 2019 at 16:02
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    $\begingroup$ I'll un-accept the answer at least temporarily since I'm asking for something thrown from the ISS, but I wonder if the author of the article just got it wrong and is actually talking about these and just got mixed up and said "ISS" by accident. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Nov 24, 2020 at 13:20
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    $\begingroup$ @uhoh The ODERACS targets were not tossed out by hand from the shuttle on STS-63. They were released from a Getaway Special canister (GAS Can) mounted on a carrier in the payload bay. i.imgur.com/YEr0QBG.png They were actually 3 spheres and 3 dipoles. ODERACS 1 was on STS-60 and released 6 spheres, also from a GAS can. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 24, 2020 at 14:46

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