ASI - Agenzia Spaziale Italiana - Mission and Projects ASI - Agenzia Spaziale Italiana - Mission and Projects


Mission Responsibility NASA
Launch date End 2010
End of Mission 2013
Current phase C/D


The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), planned to be on board the International Space Station, is an experiment which by using state-of-the-art detectors of elementary articles will study issues regarding fundamental physics. It will measure with the highest precision the flow of various types of cosmic rays in space.


The AMS experiment will use as its main detector a large silicon tracker inside a superconductor magnet for reconstructing the trace of the charged particles making up the cosmic rays. Launch on board the Shuttle is planned for the end of 2010.


Scientific Objectives
The main objectives of the AMS mission are:

  • measurement of the charge of cosmic rays including the sign;
  • measurement of cosmic rays' speed
  • measurement of the energy of the electromagnetic component of  cosmic rays
  • identification of the leptonic and hardronic component of cosmic rays
  • knowledge of the pointing direction of the AMS tracker.

AMS has been proposed and is in the development phase through international cooperation including the US (DoE), Italy (in collaboration between INFN and ASI), China, Finland, France, Germany, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan and the US.  NASA has approved two launches: after a ten-day precursor flight on STS-91 of the Shuttle on 2 June 1998.  The AMS will be installed on the Space Station with a Shuttle flight at the end of 2010 for a period of at least 3 years.


Italian Contribution
For the tracker:

  • Development of 175 silicon ladders and flight cables;
  • EM modules of the feeders for the silicon tracker;
  • AMICA stellar pointer;
  • Support in the development of the thermal system for cooling the silicon detectors.
  • Thermal Control
  • Feeder system
  • Cerenkov (RICH) light detector

Participation in the management of ground scientific data:

NASA has selected the proposal of Italian collaboration from the Italian Co-PI Prof. Roberto Battiston, the head of Perugia's INFN section. The industrial portion has been entrusted by ASI to Carlo Gavazzi Space.


International Agreements

A "Statement of intent between ASI and MIT on the AMS program" has been signed.