It’s an “identified flying object.”
On Monday morning, 220 or so miles about the Earth, NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy looked out the window to see a mysterious object drifting by.
Cassidy reached out to Mission Control about the strange item, which was drifting lazily in the emptiness of space.
Unidentified object floating outside #ISS? Sort of...
— NASA Astronauts (@NASA_Astronauts) August 19, 2013
According to a narrator on a clip from NASA TV, which shows the object passing near the Progress 52 module attached to the station, it lost the “unidentified” tag.
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“Earlier this morning, Chris Cassidy had noted an object that was floating past the station near the station’s Progress 52 cargo ship,” said the NASA TV narrator. “That object has been identified by Russian flight controllers as an antenna cover from the Zvezda service module.”
The Zvezda Service Module was the first fully Russian contribution to the International Space Station and served as the early cornerstone for the first human habitation of the station, according to NASA. It was launched atop a Proton rocket from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
The module provides station living quarters, life support systems, electrical power distribution, data processing systems, flight control systems and propulsion systems. It also provides a communications system that includes remote command capabilities from ground flight controllers.
Its antenna must be awfully cold.