AMS experiment marks one year in space

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer has collected about 17 billion cosmic-ray events.
By | Published: July 26, 2012 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
Credit: NASA
The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) yesterday marked the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer’s (AMS) first year in space with a visit from the crew of the shuttle mission STS-134 that successfully delivered AMS to the International Space Station (ISS). Launched May 16, 2011, the detector was already sending data back to Earth by May 19. Since then, the experiment has collected some 17 billion cosmic-ray events. NASA in Houston receives and then relays the data to the AMS Payload Operations Control Centre (POCC) at CERN for analysis. A second POCC has recently been inaugurated in Taipei.

“The AMS detector has so far achieved everything we expected of it,” said AMS spokesperson Samuel Ting. “That’s a great credit to the team that put the detector together and the team that installed it on the ISS. We’re honored to have them here today to celebrate AMS’s fist year in space.”

The AMS detector’s first year in space has been a learning curve: data has been used to calibrate the instrument and fully understand its performance in the extreme thermal conditions encountered in space.

“Among AMS’s achievements is that for the first time we’ve been able to identify electrons with energies exceeding 1 trillion electron volts before they enter the atmosphere,” said Ting. “This holds out great promise for the AMS research program that’s now getting underway.”