July 27th, 2012

One year after the STS-134 mission, Shuttle Endeavour’s crew that delivered AMS-02 to the ISS visited CERN and AMS POCC.

Captain Mark E. Kelly (USN), Commander (NASA), Colonel Gregory H. Johnson (USAF, Ret.), Pilot (NASA), Colonel Roberto Vittori, Mission Specialist (ESA), Colonel E.M. Mike Fincke (USAF), Mission Specialist (NASA), Dr. Andrew J. Feustel, Mission Specialist (NASA), and Dr. Gregory Errol Chamitoff, Mission Specialist (NASA) arrived at Geneva Airport on Sunday, July 22nd, accompanied by their families, including Mrs Gabrielle Gifford, former Congress representative and Commander Kelly’s wife. This was Mrs. Gifford’s first travel abroad after the terrorist attack that took place on January 2011 in Tucson, Arizona.

The next day, the team reached Aiguille du Midi on Monte Bianco, celebrating 100 years of cosmic rays.

After a guided tour around the city, on July 24th the crew was presented to the audience of a public conference held at Théâtre du Léman, in partnership with CERN, Fondation pour Genève, Geneva University, Genève Tourisme and Geneva Airport.

On the morning of July 25th, the Astronauts arrived at AMS POCC, welcomed by AMS team. A press conference followed, with all STS-134 crew, Prof. S. C. C. Ting, and CERN DG Rolf Heuer who answered journalists’ questions.

The visit of AMS POCC was concluded by the planting of a cherry tree on the lawn outside the POCC, while Astronauts visit at CERN continued with the LHC tunnel and the CMS detector. Finally a public lecture was delivered to CERN Summer Students, including an inflight call to the ISS.

To honour the Astronauts visit, an exhibition with 43 photographs of AMS-02 story has been installed at CERN Microcosm, where it can be visited until November. An opportunity not to be missed!