The ISS Reboost | Your Geek Style Physics Lesson

Learning about Space is fascinating because it opens our eyes to the vastness of the Universe. Whenever I see footage from Space, my favorite part is always the magic of weightlessness. Floating around in a no gravity environment is definitely on my top ten list of things that I think would be so much fun to do some day.

In this kick ass (but very geeky) video below, Astronaut Jeff Williams shows the acceleration he experienced inside the cabin during an International Space Station reboost that took place about three weeks ago.

If you are unfamiliar with a reboost, here is my oversimplified explanation: When a spacecraft reaches a certain place in the atmosphere, aerodynamic friction zaps the energy that keeps that spacecraft in orbit, and it starts to fall. This isn’t a big deal, it happens to all spacecraft. A reboost is performed to get the spacecraft back in proper orbit and sometimes it is also done to allow for a more efficient rendezvous with other visiting spacecrafts.

According to, “At 350km above Earth’s surface the vacuum of space is not perfect and the International Space Station is constantly slowed down by drag. Although the drag is really small the station’s orbital height can drop by 20km in a year. Without periodic reboost maneuvers the station would become a big fireball in just a few years.” {some sources say this takes place at 200km above the Earth’s surface, not 350km.}

This video will take you back to physics class. Kids, get your paper and pencils out and watch Jeff float around on the ISS. And yes, that is a big daddy-o Nikon camera floating around in space with him. And check out that collection of pens on the wall, yay for Sharpies! This is schweeeeet! Thank you to my lovely friend and fellow geek @krystynchong for sharing this with me.