September 19th, 2010

The excitment for the amazing flight of AMS-02 from Geneva to KSC is over. The experiment is now again under scientists’ control in its new location at the Space Station Processing Facility.

After the arrival, the first operations were devoted to Shuttle interfaces between the experiment and the ISS. A systematic simulation process started, first of all about communications. Through special software it is indeed possible to simulate AMS exchanging data with the ISS and the Marshall Space Center (MSC) and vice versa. From Marshall the data will be transmitted to the Johnson Space Center (JSC) and then to the rest of the world. Teams from different AMS-02 subdetectors will then receive and analyze these data. We are talking about a data stream of 7 Gigabits per seconds (Gbps) that will be processed on-board of AMS and reduced to 2 Megabits per second (Mbps), the bandwidth available from the ISS to ground. At this time we’re performing these simulations from the Payload Operation Control Center (POCC) located on the SSPF building at KSC.

AMS-02 on POCC monitors.

The POCC room, from where all communication simulations are run.

The current verification phase is called Pre-Shuttle Integration. The next steps are: Shuttle Integration, Canister Operations, OPF (Orbiter Processing Facility)/VAB (Vehicle Assembly Building) Operations and Pad Operations.

The Shuttle Integration will last throughout November: AMS-02 will then be ready for installation into the Shuttle and transferred to the Cargo Element Work Stand (CEWS) for the Final Flight Close Outs.

While all these technical operations are in progress, the AMS Collaboration regularly meets to monitor the status of the detector and the analysis tools development.

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