Light guides like this one form part of a Ring Image Cherenkov Counter headed for the International Space Station.

Light guides like this one form part of a Ring Image Cherenkov Counter headed for the International Space Station.


When the U.S. Space Shuttle launches on Oct. 15th, its payload will include light guides from Goodfellow Corp., Devon, Pa. Ciemat, the Spanish government-owned research organization, is using the guides in its Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, or AMS-02, which is bound for the International Space Station (ISS). The guides form part of a detector that will search for dark matter, missing matter, and antimatter.

Fabricated from molded and machined PMMA (polymethylmethacrylate) acrylic, the guides are assembled to form a truncated pyramid that is part of an instrument called a Ring Image Cherenkov Counter. Positioned under the spectrometer, it detects and identifies charged particles. AMS-02 will mount on the main truss outside the ISS to collect cosmic ray data. ISS communications equipment will send the scientific data back to Earth for three years, at which time the Shuttle will return AMS-02 to Earth.