Space Shuttle Atlantis

I have a question about the mystery objects "falling" from the Atlantis mentioned on the news today:
If the shuttle is in orbit around the earth and outside of the Earth's
gravity, how does objects "fall"? Are they actually propelled?
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It isn't outside of the Earth's gravity.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbit
Chris
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Chris Eilbeck
MARS Flight Crew http://www.mars.org.uk /
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The object was moving at almost exactly the same speed and direction as the orbiter. That's how they knew immediately that it came off the orbiter. When the object came off the orbiter it had some inertia in a direction away from the orbiter. So it's path made it move away from the orbiter towards the earth. Since the mystery object's trajectory took it towards earth and away from the orbiter, it's natural to say it "fell" away.
-- Roger Oops, I forgot ... Arrgghhh! Avast, ye mateys ..... http://www.payloadbay.com/article-building-the-jolly-roger-pirate-rocket.html
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Roger Smith wrote:

Let's nog forget they had a burn today to get ready for landing.. a few g's to shake things loose.
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Darrell D. Mobley asked:

In truth, the orbiter and the mystery object are both falling around the earth. But it seems that anything that truly fell off of a shuttle in orbit would do so very slowly in relative to the shuttle.
Tim
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Tim Smith wrote:

One would think!
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