The High Energy cosmic-Radiation Detection (HERD) facilityhas been proposed as one of several space astronomy payloads onboard the future China’s Space Station, planned for operation starting around 2025 for about 10 years. HERD is a China-led mission with key European contribution led by Italy. The primary scientific objectives of HERD are the indirect dark matter search with unprecedented sensitivity; precise cosmic ray spectrum and composition measurements up to the knee energy and Gamma-ray monitoring and full sky survey.
HERD detector is composed by an almost cubic calorimeter, surrounded by a tracker (silicon and scintillating fibre) and a plastic scintillator.The calorimeter made of about 7500 LYSO cubic crystals and capable of accepting particles incident on its top face and four lateral faces. Each sensitive face is instrumented with a silicon and scintillating fibre tracker, and covered by a plastic scintillator detector to separate gamma rays from charged particles. Additionally, a transition radiation detector is located on one lateral face for energy calibration of TeV particles. This design results in an effective geometric factor more than one order of magnitude larger than that of previous missions, and give excellent lepton/hadron separation capabilities thanks to the 3D nature of the calorimeter.
The novel design and key specifications of HERD instruments will be discussed, with some results from beam test measurements. We will discuss also the current status of the mission and the open issue that the HERD Collaboration is addressing to finalise the detector design.