The PAMELA experiment is a satellite-borne apparatus designed to study charged particles in the cosmic radiation, with a particular focus on antiparticles. The detector is housed on the Resurs-DK1 satellite and it is taking data since June 2006. The main parts of the apparatus are a magnetic spectrometer, which is equipped with a silicon-microstrip tracking system and which is used to measure the rigidity and the charge of particles, and a silicon/tungsten electromagnetic calorimeter which provides particle identification. The main results about the antiparticles component of cosmic rays obtained during the first 500 days of data taking are summarized here.
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The PAMELA experiment has measured the antiproton-to-proton flux ratio and the positron fraction over the most extended energy range ever achieved and has improved the existing statistics at high energies by an order of magnitude. It is continuously taking data and the mission is planned to last until at least December 2011. The increasing in statistics will allow higher energies to be studied. An analysis for low energy antiprotons and positrons (down to 100 MeV) is in progress and will be the topic of future publications. We would like to acknowledge contri- butions and support from: Italian Space Agency (ASI), Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raum-fahrt (DLR), The Swedish National Space Board, Swedish Research Council, The Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) and The Russian Foundation for Basic Research.