How much acceleration does the International Space Station experience during its orbital adjustment boosts? How much thrust and for how long? Bonus question: what is the highest acceleration that the ISS can have without breaking up?


If you follow the link in this superb answer by @TildalWave to the NASA blogs, you can get info on every boost.

His example from the blogs is:

ISS Daily Summary Report – 05/06/15

ISS Reboost: This morning, the ISS performed a reboost using 58P thrusters to set up phasing requirements for 41S landing scheduled on May 13. Burn duration was 12 minutes, 17 seconds with a Delta-V of 1.34 meters/second.

And definitely worth reading the blog linked to in the comments there. @Uhoh pointed out two awesome YouTube clips linked from that blog demonstrating the effect of the boost burn on people and items inside the ISS:

Expedition 29 crew and Expedition 22 Commander and camera

I haven't yet found any maximum safe boost information, though.

  • $\begingroup$ I've re-used these cool videos here: space.stackexchange.com/q/34702/12102 $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Mar 8 '19 at 16:36
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    $\begingroup$ There's not really a "maximum safe boost" per se. Sure, there's an acceleration that will lead to immediate or imminent breakup, but things are far lower than that. What happens instead is that different boosts will set up structural vibrations that reduce the structural life of various components. That's the scenario that they analyze to, and there are far more variables than just the intensity of a particular burn. $\endgroup$
    – Tristan
    Mar 8 '19 at 17:28
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    $\begingroup$ Wow, 12 minute burn for only 1.34 m/s? That's a very slow burn. I suppose the slower it is, the more precise you can make it... $\endgroup$
    – corsiKa
    Mar 8 '19 at 19:48
  • $\begingroup$ And the lower the stress on the ISS. Those two videos site just how gentle the boost burn is :-) $\endgroup$
    – Rory Alsop
    Mar 8 '19 at 22:06
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    $\begingroup$ @corsiKa There’s no hurry. $\endgroup$ Mar 16 '19 at 16:36

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