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I was listening to Houston We Have A Podcast and they mentioned that spare payload on ISS supply/crew runs frequently get filled with cubesats which get (more elegantly than the word suggests) tossed out of the station to insert them into orbit.

It occurred to me that if they're tossing these retrograde they're getting free stationkeeping dV? That seems likely to put the cubesat into a more rapidly decaying orbit, but cubesats are cheap. That's the whole point.

So, since they have a mechanism for launching these... which way are they going?

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Partial answer:

Don't know about the general case, but I can answer for one.

Using these two nice pictures of a Nanoracks deploy:

enter image description here

enter image description here

I was able to match the Japanese robot arm position in the NASA visualization tool DOUG

enter image description here

and then we can rotate the view to see the big picture of which way it's pointing.

enter image description here

So, diagonally nadir & aft.

Picture sources

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