PAMELA is a 500 kg satellite-borne experiment designed to study with great accuracy cosmic rays of galactic, solar, and trapped nature in a wide energy range (protons: 80 MeV-700 GeV, electrons 50 MeV- 400 GeV). Main objective is the study of the antimatter component:
antiprotons (80 MeV-190 GeV), positrons (50 MeV-270 GeV) and search for antimatter with a precision of the order of 10-8.
The experiment, housed on board the Russian Resurs-DK1 satellite, was launched on June 15th 2006 in a 350 – 600 km orbit with an inclination of 70 degrees.
We will describe the scientific objectives, the performance and the operations of PAMELA in its first two years of flight. First results on protons of trapped, secondary and galactic nature - as well as measurements of the December 13th 2006 Solar Particle Event - are also provided.
We will also discuss some measurements and possible implications of the antiproton and positron components in galactic cosmic rays.