(Updated 17:54) NASA astronaut Don Pettit has posted an excellent video showing ATV-3’s first Station reboost on Saturday 31 March (Is this the first-ever showing an ATV reboost from orbit? – Ed.). The video clearly shows ATV’s thrusters firing against the black backdrop of space. ATV Mission Director Jean-Michel Bois commented:
Thanks for this wonderful video. This activity was a nominal planned test in order to verify the good integration of ATV and ISS; it’s a standard test to be performed as soon as possible after ATV docking. In particular, we tested here the ‘commandability’ of the ATV thrusters via the ISS computers via a small boost (just 1m/s). The objective was to ensure the readiness of ATV either to perform future (and much larger) planned reboosts of the Station or to support at any time a Debris Avoidance Manoeuvre.
And it is a great video clip!
Here is my attempt to capture a Station re-boost last weekend using ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle) propellant. Notice that as the burn progresses, a halo of exhaust accumulates that is visible when the thrusters fire for thrust corrections.