Space Station reboost success

by Chris Bergin

The International Space Station (ISS) has carried out a second attempt at boosting its orbit by around five miles late on Monday, following a failed attempt last week. The reboost was successful, with the Progress engine firing for 1364 seconds.

Using the Progress 23P engine, last week’s attempt only raised the orbit of the station by a single mile, following a malfunction with the cargo ship’s engine, causing an early abort of the re-boost attempt.

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The reboost is required to raise the ISS’ orbit to allow Shuttle Discovery to rendezvous with the station, after lifting off on any available launch opportunity – which opens with December 7.

‘Later tonight, another ISS reboost will be attempted, using the eight Progress 23P rendezvous & docking thrusters (DPO) in pulsed mode (‘Method 1),’ noted today’s ISS On Orbit Status report (published daily on L2).

‘Objective: to adjust the station’s orbital phase angle such that STS-116/12A.1 can rendezvous with ISS on FD3 for any launch date between 12/7-23 (local).

‘Time of reboost burn ignition: 4:36pm EST; burn duration 21min 29s, for a delta-V of 4.9 m/s (16.1 ft/s) and delta-height of 8.6 km (4.6 nmi). This will allow for the new mass properties of the asymmetrical station, the yaw angle limit band for the jets in the motion control software has been opened up from 4 to 8 deg, and the pulse delay reduced from 16 to 13s.’

The ISS requires such periodic boosts to its orbit prior to arrivals of the Shuttle and Progress re-supply ships to ensure successful dockings.

Because of this, had there been a problem with the re-boost attempt tonight, Discovery would only have been able to launch on four attempts during the current STS-116 window, on December 7, 9, 11 and 13. YERO (Year End Rollerover) would then come into play for NASA to extend the launch attempts past the December 13th attempt.

However, sources have noted that Russian controllers successfully carried out the reboost.

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