AMS IN A NUTSHELL

AMS-02 > WHAT IS AMS? > AMS IN A NUTSHELL


  • The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) is a state-of-the-art particle physics detector designed to operate as an external module on the International Space Station. It will use the unique environment of space to study the universe and its origin by searching for antimatter, dark matter while performing precision measurements of cosmic rays composition and flux.
  • AMS-02 is built, tested and operated by an international Collaboration of 56 institutions from 16 countries represented by the United States Department of Energy (DoE). NASA is responsible for installing AMS-02 on the International Space Station (ISS) where AMS will operate it for the lifetime of the ISS.
  • AMS-02 will be mounted on the upper Payload Attach Point (S3) on the main truss of the ISS.
  • Orbiting the Earth on the ISS at an altitude of about 300 km, AMS-02 will study with an unprecedented accuracy of one part in 10 billions the composition of primary cosmic rays, exploring a new frontier in the field of particle physics, searching for primordial antimatter and studying the nature of dark matter.
  • AMS-02 will collect hundreds of millions of primary cosmic rays which, after being accelerated by strong magnetic fields, traveled for hundreds of millions of light years before reaching the experiment.
  • The core of the AMS-02 spectrometer is a large magnet to measure the sign of the charge of each particle traversing the instrument: the experiment will collect data continuously for years, producing a data stream of 7 Gigabits per seconds, which, after online processing, is reduced to a 2 Mbs average of downlink bandwidth.
  • The AMS-02 observations will help answer fundamental questions, such as “What makes up the Universe’s invisible mass?” or “What happened to the primordial antimatter?”

Because of these exceptional characteristics AMS-02 has been dubbed the Hubble Telescope of cosmic rays

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AMS IN FIGURES

Weight 8,500 kg

Volume 64 cubic meters

Power 2,500 watts

Data downlink  9 Mbps (average)

Magnetic field intensity 0,15 Tesla (4,000 times stronger than the Earth magnetic field)

Magnetic material 1,200 kg of Neodymium alloy (Nd2Fe14B)

Subsystems 15 among particle detectors and supporting subsystems

Launch 16th May 2011, 08:56 am EDT

Mission duration through the lifetime of the ISS, until 2020 or longer (it will not return back to Earth)

Construction 1999-2010

Cost $1.5 billion (estimated)