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AMS: The Fight for Flight

Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer
The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer was photographed during a spacewalk in January 2017.

NASA’s “AMS: The Fight for Flight” documentary is now available.

Find broadcast times and watch on NASA TV.

Streaming right now on Google Play and Amazon Video.

Learn about the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS), a particle physics experiment on the International Space Station, the history of this revolutionary experiment and the man behind it.

Originally proposed in 1994 by Samuel Ting, a Nobel laureate and MIT Professor of Physics, and built by over 600 physicists and engineers all over the world, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer is by far the most complex physics experiment ever launched into space. The goal of the instrument is to help researchers unlock the mysteries of antimatter and better understand the structure of our universe.

While still under construction, the AMS experiment suffered a major setback because of the Space Shuttle Columbia tragedy in 2003. Soon after, the decision was made to cancel the space shuttle program, and as a result the AMS was removed from the manifest. After ten years and $1.5B spent, there would be no ride to the space station.

This film tracks the AMS’s 23 year journey from the drawing board to its final home on the space station. Along the way, we look back at the adversity that principal investigator Sam Ting was forced to overcome with the help of NASA and key members of Congress. Ultimately, it’s a story of one man’s remarkable tenacity and that of different branches of government working with researchers in order to produce great science for the benefit of all humankind.