News of the WeekSpace Physics

Redesign Postpones Launch of Long-Delayed Space Station Experiment

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Science  30 Apr 2010:
Vol. 328, Issue 5978, pp. 561
DOI: 10.1126/science.328.5978.561-a

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Driven and independent, Samuel C. C. Ting has campaigned for 16 years to send a massive particle detector to the International Space Station. But just as researchers are preparing the $1.5 billion, 7.5-ton Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) for liftoff on the last flight of NASA's space shuttle, Ting, a Nobel Prize–winning physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has decided to swap out a key piece of hardware. That change will delay the launch, which was scheduled for 29 July, by months. But Ting says the change will prolong AMS's lifetime by many years, and those who know him say the move is likely not as rash as it appears.