Thursday, August 26, 2010

AMS experiment for final shuttle mission headed to KSC

Kennedy Space Center this morning is preparing for the arrival of the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, the primary payload for the last scheduled shuttle flight next February.

The roughly $2 billion particle physics experiment is en route from Geneva, Switzerland, in an Air Force C-5 plane due to touch down at the Shuttle Landing Facility around 11:15 a.m.

Nobel Prize-winning physicist Samuel Ting of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the leader of the AMS project, will be on hand to welcome the instrument.

More than 500 scientists from 16 nations, mostly in Europe and Asia, have contributed to AMS, which will search for dark matter and antimatter from a perch outside the International Space Station. The U.S. Department of Energy is also a sponsor of the work.

The seven-ton instrument's delivery to KSC was delayed when scientists earlier this year decided to swap out the magnet that will steer cosmic particles into the instrument's detectors.

They said the change would allow the experiment to last for the life of the station instead of just three years, taking advantage of new U.S. policy to extend the stations's life by at least five years, to 2020.

The delay prompted NASA to shuffle the order of the final two shuttle missions so Discovery would fly this fall, and to push Endeavour's flight into next year.

IMAGE: Credit CERN, AMS-02 Project.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Had to of been Obama's Fault that this AMS was built in Switzerland! Couldn't we have built that here in the US using "Many Imported Parts"

Anonymous said...

Soon we wont 't be able to get anything big up there at all .By not keeping two shuttles on standby until whatever pipedream big rocket finally turns up by what 2016-2020 we are at the mercy of Vlad Putin and his even older design rockets we are paying Russia to use that can only hold three people . The ,USA,leader of the World in manned space for 50 years gives up the high ground with only a wimper . Now the ones left can study Global Warming and Muslim outreach .Never would have believed they could mess it up this badly with Ares Constellation able to be built much sooner.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if NASA would leave Florida, we could use the Cape to develop space transportation and industry.