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


Main Theme High Energy Astrophysics
Mission Responsibility Roscosmos
Launch Date 15 June 2006
End of Mission June 2009 (nominal)
Current phase E2


The space mission PAMELA, part of the RIM (Russian-Italian Missions) is now the most advanced observatory for studying cosmic rays. The PAMELA instrument was installed on board the RESURS DK1 satellite of the TsSKB Progress (Russia) and placed into orbit on 15 June 2006 at an altitude between 350 and 600 km by a Soyuz launcher. The instrument equipment of PAMELA is made up of a permanent magnet, a tracking system made up of 6 silicon microstrip levels, a trigger system and a measurement of flight time made up of three double levels segmented by scintillation counters, an image calorimeter made up of 22 planes of tungsten and 44 silicon levels, a system of scintillation counters for anticoincidence, a neutron detector made up of 36 detectors at 3He placed on two levels, a scintillation counter for the high-energy particle trigger.


Scientific Objectives
PAMELA's main scientific objective is to search for evidence of exotic matter, that is non-baryonic matter, which is not foreseen in the standard model of elementary particle physics, and the search for antinuclei. Other important scientific objectives are the study of the dependence of medium life energy of cosmic rays in our galaxy, the study of transport models and of the secondary production of cosmic radiation in the galaxy, the long-term monitoring of solar activity.

The energetic spectres of antiprotons, positrons, protons and electrons are measured up to several hundredths of GeV and the nuclear and isotope components of cosmic rays, with particular regard to the detection of antinuclei.


Italian Contribution
After having supplied the PAMELA instrument for installation on the satellite, the main activities in progress are connected to the mission control for the part regarding the experiment itself, the reception of Pamela data of the Resusr DK1 satellite, the analysis of data and the communication and diffusion of its results.


International Agreements
The specific programme agreement between ASI and INFN, which falls within the Framework Convention, is in progress.
The experiment is conducted through international partnership guided by Italy and made up of the INFN sections of Bari, Florence, Naples, Tor Vergata and Trieste, the national laboratories of Frascati of the INFN, the Russian institutes MePhI and the FIAN Lebedev of Moscow and Ioffe of St. Petersburg, the University of Siegen in Germany and the Royal Technical Institute of Stockholm.

The mission is executed in the framework of an agreement contract between INFN and Roscosmos for the integration of the payload of the Resurs DK1 satellite, the placing into orbit and the downlink of 10 Gigabytes of data each day.
There is also a partnership agreement for Pamela between INFN and the RAS which foresees an international mixed INFN-RAS committee to follow the Pamela mission.