PAMELA is a satellite-borne experiment which will measure the antiparticle component of cosmic rays over an extended energy range and with unprecedented accuracy. The apparatus consists of a permanent magnetic spectrometer equipped with a double-sided silicon microstrip tracking system and surrounded by a scintillator anticoincidence system. A silicon tungsten imaging calorimeter, complemented by a scintillator shower tail catcher, and a transition radiation detector perform the particle identification task. Fast scintillators are used for Time-of-Flight measurements and to provide the primary trigger. A neutron detector is finally provided to extend the range of particle measurements to the TeV region. PAMELA will fly on-board of the Resurs-DK1 satellite, which will be put into a semi-polar orbit in 2005 by a Soyuz rocket. We give a brief review of the scientific issues of the mission and report about the status of the experiment few months before the launch.