BF Maschinen manufactures special aluminium suspensions for NASA experiments. Geretsried – After Byk Gardner, whose measuring instruments are reportedly in use on the international space station ISS, a second company from Geretsried will soon be represented in space: Since mid-March, BF Maschinen GmbH has been manufacturing special parts for the AMS-02 (Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer) project, which is to dock on board a NASA shuttle to the international space station ISS in December 2010.
An important astrophysical goal of this experiment is to provide information about dark matter, which accounts for about 90 percent of the total matter of the universe. For this purpose, BF Maschinen manufactures all the suspensions of the AMS-02 from special aluminium. “The required manufacturing tolerances are a real challenge,” says BF Managing Director Thomas Breuer. He is “proud to be part of such a revolutionary project with my team”.
An international collaboration of 41 research institutes and 13 countries is working closely with NASA to build the $1.5 billion AMS-02. The manufactured parts must then be x-rayed by a specialist company and measured with a 3D measuring machine, “because precision is in high demand”.
At the end of April, the parts will be delivered by special transport to the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule in Aachen and assembled on the AMS-02 there. In Germany, the Institute of Physics of the Aachen University of Applied Sciences is in charge of the development of this experiment. Prof. Klaus Lübelsmeyer visited BF Maschinen in Geretsried these days.
Over a period of ten years, the AMS-02 will measure the composition of cosmic radiation with unprecedented precision. The search for anti-matter is also of particular scientific interest, as this has been expected for years in cosmological models as a relic of the Big Bang.
In 1998 a prototype (AMS-01) with the space shuttle “Discovery” was sent into space. During the ten-day flight, traces of more than 100 million charged particles of cosmic rays could be measured. The experiment AMS-02 should finally answer these questions and theories and clarify how the universe came into being and how it will evolve.