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When you say "propelled directly away", you do not specify whether a motive force (e.g., rocket engine) is being applied at the time. An object that is tossed upward, once leaving the tosser's hand, is in free rise (neglecting atmospheric effects) even while it is going up. It enters free fall when starting down again. The operative word here is "free", and as long as it is, the physics is basically the same. For this reason, I would believe that the length of an object as viewed by an observer at rest with respect to the source and well beyond it, will not be affected by the direction of the flight parallel or antiparallel to a given direction at a given point. I am of course assuming that the flight is free.