The departure of one of the most exciting scientific instruments ever built to the International Space Station (ISS) has been scheduled for 26 August.
European media have been invited to witness this event.
The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) will arrive on that day at the Kennedy Space Center, according to a statement by ESA
According to the statement, the AMS is is a state-of-the-art particle physics detector designed to operate as an external module on the International Space Station. It will be delivered to the ISS by NASA's Space Shuttle.
During the unloading of AMS, following arrival at the Space Shuttle Landing Facility (SSL), media will have the opportunity to have a look at the hardware and talk to AMS scientists and managers.
The purpose of the AMS is to help us to understand the origin and structure of the Universe by searching for signs of antimatter and dark matter. As a byproduct, AMS will also gather a host of information on stars and galaxies millions of light years from our home Galaxy.
The AMS is the product of international cooperation and was built mostly by institutes in Italy, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland, together with the participation of China, Russia, Taiwan and the United States. In all, the experiment's team consists of 56 institutes from 16 countries.
"Europe contributed to the design and development of AMS to a large extent and the mission will be even more special to Europeans as a ESA astronaut, Roberto Vittori, will be flying on an opportunity provided by the Italian space agency, ASI," says ESA's Simonetta Di Pippo.
Note to media: media applying for credentials at Kennedy may submit requests via the Web at media.ksc.nasa.gov (Deadline: 17 August 2010). Contact person: Nadjejda Vicente, email@example.com