See what happens to the astronauts on the space station during the reboot of the orbit

Video by ESA astronaut Matthias Mauer and his 66 expedition comrades experiencing a reboot of the International Space Station. While the video at the bottom of this article is accelerated 8 times, this GIF is accelerated 32 times.

It’s reminiscent of going down a slide on a playground – and then immediately returning to the queue to go down again. Is that in space.

This is what it looks like aboard the International Space Station when engines start to reboot the orbit. Although the astronauts seem to be moving inside the station, the space station is actually moving around them. In fact, the acceleration is not so fast – the video is accelerated eight times (GIF top 32 times). But it still looks fun!

Data for acceleration / change rates for this particular burn were not available, but for a previous burn lasting 12 minutes 17 seconds the Delta-V was 1.34 meters / s (4.4 ft / s).

The crew seen here is Expedition 66, which includes[{” attribute=””>NASA astronauts Raja Chari, Thomas Marshburn Kayla Barron, and Mark Vande Hei; ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer; Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov.

ISS Expedition 66 Crew Official Portrait

The official portrait of the seven-member Expedition 66 crew. From left are, NASA astronauts Raja Chari and Thomas Marshburn; ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthias Maurer; Roscosmos cosmonauts Anton Shkaplerov and Pyotr Dubrov; and NASA astronauts Kayla Barron and Mark Vande Hei. Credit: NASA

The astronauts are obviously enjoying the experience. It must feel somewhat similar to when a car or airplane accelerates – it feels like you are being pushed back into the seat, when in reality, the seat is being pushed into you by the acceleration of the vehicle.

The ISS usually orbits about 400 km (250 miles) above the Earth. But the effects of atmospheric drag can cause the station to lose as much as 100 meters a day in altitude. Therefore, regular reboosts are required, usually about once a month. There’s no real schedule for when a reboost is done, as the density of Earth’s atmosphere at those altitudes constantly changes, depending on how much energy is being fed into it by the Sun. Therefore, the orbital decay rate is not consistent. But the ISS orbits decays faster than other satellites at a similar altitude due to its massive size and surface area.

International Space Station From SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour

The International Space Station is pictured from the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endeavour during a fly around of the orbiting lab that took place following its undocking from the Harmony module’s space-facing port on November 8, 2021. The orbital complex was flying 263 miles above the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean when this photograph was taken. Credit: NASA

Reboosts are also done to optimize the ISS’s orbital position for future visiting vehicles arriving at the station. This particular reboost was performed in March 2022 using Russia’s ISS Progress 79 cargo craft. By firing its engines for several minutes, the station was put at the proper altitude for an arriving Soyuz for the new crew members that arrived in March.

NASA says that all ISS propulsion is provided by the Russian Segment and Progress cargo spacecraft. Propulsion is used for station reboost, attitude control, debris avoidance maneuvers (as well as eventual deorbit operations). The U.S. gyroscopes provide day-to-day attitude control, i.e. controlling the orientation of the station. Russian thrusters are used for attitude control during dynamic events like spacecraft docking, and they provide attitude control recovery when the gyroscopes reach their control limits.

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus is the only U.S. commercial spacecraft currently available to provide reboosts, although it is still currently in testing mode. The first Cygnus capable of performing reboosts arrived at the ISS in February 2022.

Originally published on Universe Today. See what happens to the astronauts on the space station during the reboot of the orbit

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