ESA Mission Director Jean-Michel Bois sent in a short update after last night’s ‘test’ reboost. The successful burn using the ATV’s thrusters means that the vessel is ready for a series of larger planned reboosts (the first expected on 5 April) and to conduct debris avoidance manoeuvres when necessary (scroll down below the animation for Jean-Michel’s note).
Animation of reboost performed by ATV Jules Verne
After the successful power/electrical reconnection of ATV with the ISS in the afternoon, the test of the ATV reboost capability was performed on 31 March at 21:54 UT/GMT.
The goal was to ensure that the ATV was correctly integrated with Station and that its thrusters were able to perform the foreseen orbital altitude boost manoeuvres and support at any time a debris avoidance manoeuvre (DAM) if necessary.
The test demonstrated the good coordination between ATV-CC (Toulouse), MCC-M (Moscow Control Centre) and MCC-H (Houston Control Center), and that activation of the ATV propulsion system can be directly commanded by the ISS computers.
A small change in velocity of 1m/s was delivered to the Station via two main thrusters (OCS – orbital control system) of the ATV.
Note that while the thruster burn was controlled from ground, ESA astronaut André Kuipers helped prepare the Station for the 351-second burn: he closed the protective external shutters of the Lab, Node-3/Cupola & ‘Kibo’ Japanese Experiment Module windows to prevent their contamination from thruster effluents during and after the test burn.
It takes a team!