The First Eight Years of data taking on the International Space Station

May 20th, 2019

The First Eight years of AMS collecting data on the International Space Station

On May 19th 2011, at 5:46am EDT, the AMS-02 was successfully installed and activated on the International Space Station: the start of the AMS-02 data taking!

The AMS-02 Experiment is the most sensitive particle detector ever deployed in space and is exploring a new and exciting frontier in physics research. As a magnetic spectrometer, AMS is unique in physics research as it studies charged particles and nuclei in the cosmos before they are annihilated in the Earth’s atmosphere. The improvement in accuracy over previous measurements is made possible through its long duration time in space, large acceptance, built in redundant systems and its thorough calibration in the CERN test beam. These features enable AMS to analyze the data to an accuracy of ~1%. The first five years of data from AMS on the International Space Station are beginning to unlock the secrets of the cosmos.

From its vantage point ~240 miles (400 km) above the Earth, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) collects data from passing cosmic rays from primordial sources in the universe before they pass through the Earth’s atmosphere.

Since its installation AMS has collected data from almost 140 billion cosmic rays with up to multi-TeV energies and published its major physics results in Physical Review Letters.

Most importantly, AMS will continue to collect and analyze data for the lifetime of the Space Station. As the results to date have demonstrated, whenever a precision instrument such as AMS is used to explore the unknown, new and exciting discoveries can be expected.