A week ago, under a clear evening sky on 19th Nov, I wandered out into my front garden to watch the ISS and Endeavour'sail overhead. A friend had told me that particular pass would be spectacularly bright and, as'the sky was gin clear that night, I was determined not to miss it. Aiming my 10 x 50 binoculars at the speeding spot of light I held my breath, for there, flying ahead of the ISS and Space Shuttle'was a faint object. I followed'it right across the sky as the combination'passed 190 nautical miles overhead at more than 17,200 mph with something ‘in company.’'
To my astonishment it seems I was lucky enough to see the tool bag accidentally lost overboard by astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper as she and fellow-astronaut Steve Bowen conducted their first spacewalk on the 18th. The pair had been cleaning and lubricating the damaged solar alpha rotary joint (SARJ), at the starboard end of the station truss, when the 30 lb. bag was lost. The mishap occurred as Stefanyshyn-Piper was cleaning her gloves, camera and other gear after one of the grease guns inside the bag accidentially discharged. Click below to see the moment when the bag was lost.'''(credit: YouTube)'
Bowen had a similar toolkit, and the two were able to share their supplies to finish cleaning sections of the 10-foot-diameter SARJ. For more details see all the'blog entries by Frank Morring.
An amateur astronomer in Canada also managed to catch the bag on film. Here’s the clip.
(Via On Space.)