The measurements of the ionization states, composition, energy spectra and spatial distribution of heavy ions of helium to iron of energies 10–100 MeV/amu in the anomalous cosmic rays are of major importance in understanding their origin which is unknown at present.Anuradha (IONS) cosmic ray experiment in Spacelab-3 was designed to determine the above properties in near earth space and this had a highly successful flight and operations aboard the shuttle Challenger at an orbital altitude of 352 km during 29 April to 6 May 1985. The instrument employs solid state nuclear track detectors (CR-39) of high sensitivity and large collecting area of about 800 cm2 and determines the arrival time information of particles with active elements. Experimental methods, flight operations and preliminary results are briefly described. Initial results indicate that relatively high fluxes of low energy cosmic ray α-particles, oxygen group and heavier ions were obtained. The flight period corresponded to that of quiet Sun and the level of solar activity was close to solar minimum. It is estimated that about 10,000 events of low energy cosmic ray alpha particles with time annotation are recorded in the detector together with similar number of events of oxygen and heavier ions of low energy cosmic rays.