ATV-3 conducted its 6th ISS reboost manoeuvre early this morning, and ESA Mission Director Adam Williams oversaw the activity at ATV-CC, Toulouse. He's sent in a detailed timeline of how it went -- giving a rare, 'on console' look behind the scenes of ATV operations.
With high solar activity, there is an increased risk of highly charged particles affecting ATV, at worst causing a reset of the Fault Tolerant Computer. If this occurred during the reboost it would terminate the boost before it was fully completed.
However, the Houston space weather forecast was more positive [than that of CNES, nominally responsible for space weather monitoring for ATV - Ed.], and the trilateral [i.e. Houston, Moscow, Toulouse - Ed.] conclusion was that the reboost could continue. Moscow and Houston both agreed it was better to attempt a reboost, and deal with the consequences of any underboost if and when it happened.
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 - All times Toulouse local - CEST
02:00 - All teams are on console preparing ATV for the reboost. Everything is calm.
03:40 - Successful transition of ATV to 'ISS Attitude Control' mode.
05:15 - Successful transition of ATV to 'ISS Reboost' mode.
05:16 - Start of reboost...
05:35 - Successful end of reboost and transition back to 'ISS Attitude Control' mode. Delta-V (change in velocity) achieved was around 2.8 m/s, which raised the ISS approximately 5 km.
06:15 - ATV back in 'Dormant' mode. Time for an early breakfast!