When Your Spacecraft Moves Without You

ATV-3 performs a reboost maneuver while docked to ISS (Credits: ISS).

At regular intervals, the International Space Station needs a propulsive boost to avoid losing altitude due to atmospheric drag, or occasionally to get out of the way of approaching space debris. These boosts are provided from docked supply spacecraft – the Progress, ATV, and HTV vessels – and provide a spectacular show outside the station. But did you ever wonder what it feels like to be onboard ISS during one of these boosts? In the video below from 2011, Expedition 29 Commander Mike Fossum and Flight Engineers Satoshi Furukawa and Sergei Volkov demonstrate what happens when your spacecraft accelerates without you. As Furukawa describes it: “Wow! I’ll do it again!”

 

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