Abstract : The AMS spectrometer is scheduled to be installed on the International Space Station ISS in 2003. The detector will be equipped with a Ring Imaging Cherenkov Counter (RICH). The report starts with a presentation of the physics goals of AMS and continues with a description of the spectrometer. The RICH detector response and event reconstruction is then described and detailed. The presentation proceeds with a simulation study of cosmic ray nuclei expected with the AMS RICH counter in space. Next, the thesis reports on the research and development of a RICH prototype built and tested in the period 1997-1999 in the Grenoble Institute of Nuclear Science (ISN). The response of the prototype and its calibration are described. Tests have been performed with cosmic rays at ground and ion beam at GSI-Darmstadt. The data analysis of the test campaigns is then presented and compared with simulation results. Finally, a dedicated test of Albedo particule Rejection Power of the RICH detector is reported.