MoU Signature in 2004
The signature of the MOU on 15 December 2003, with Claude Détraz, left, representing CERN and Manuel Aguilar-Benítez of CIEMAT, Spain, representing the AMS collaboration.

AMS has been a “Recognized Experiment” (RE1) at CERN since 1997.

In 2003, CERN and AMS signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the execution of the experiment, and decided the establishment at CERN of the  Payload Operations and Control Centre (POCC)  and the Science Operations Centre (SOC). In the MOU, it was mentioned that CERN would provide areas for the assembly and testing of the AMS detector, as well as offices for users and secretarial support.

Construction of the AMS detector components was carried out by an international team with significant contributions from CERN Member States France, Germany, Italy, Portugal Spain and Switzerland, as well as China, China (Taipei) and the USA. Assembly was carried out at CERN with help from the CERN’s engineering services. February 4 to 9, 2010, the AMS detector was put through its paces using a test beam from the Super Proton Synchrotron accelerator at CERN. This was the first of a series of tests on the fully assembled detector and it gave excellent results, demonstrating AMS’s ability to work as a coherent whole once it reaches space. A beam of primary protons from the SPS was used to check the detector’s momentum resolution, and it qualified the spectrometer’s ability to measure particle curvature and momentum. AMS’s ability to distinguish electrons from protons was also tested. 

Inside POCC
The interior of the AMS POCC.

The AMS POCC building was provided by CERN and built on the Prevessin site. After two months' first operation in the Johnson Space Center in Houston, the AMS operations were fully transferred to the permanent site at the POCC at CERN. 

The AMS POCC has become the high point of the regular tours of CERN.  Each year, thousands of guests, VIPs, and reporters visit the POCC and received detailed briefings on AMS, AMS operations, and the ISS.  If you would like to visit the AMS POCC, please contact the CERN Visits service.