Lost In Space: How a Toolbag Got Away From the ISS

What began as a minor mishap during a NASA spacewalk has become a stargazers’ delight. On Nov. 9, 2023, a toolbag became untethered from astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli and Loral O’Hara during repairs on the International Space Station. Now orbiting the Earth, the toolbag presents a unique sighting opportunity, shining bright as a star in the night sky. The bag has begun to lose altitude and drift ahead of the ISS by about 10 minutes. The shiny object, visible with binoculars, showed up in footage taken by the Virtual Telescope Project on November 15th. Mission Control has analyzed the bag’s trajectory and determined that the risk of recontacting with the ISS is low and that no action by the onboard crew is required. The stray toolbag will stay afloat for a few months before it’s bulled back into the Earth’s atmosphere for a safe burn-up high above the surface at roughly 70 miles in altitude.