Kosmos 173 was operated in an orbit with a perigee of 261 kilometres (162 mi), an apogee of 471 kilometres (293 mi), 71.0 degrees of inclination, and an orbital period of 91.86 minutes. It remained in orbit until it decayed and reentered the atmosphere on 17 December 1967. It was the ninth of seventy nine DS-P1-Yu satellites to be launched, and the eighth of seventy two to successfully reach orbit.
Payloads are separated by bullets ( · ), launches by pipes ( | ). Manned flights are indicated in bold text. Uncatalogued launch failures are listed in italics. Payloads deployed from other spacecraft are denoted in brackets.