Antonio Rodot`, Director General of the European Space Agency (ESA), alongside the Director General of the Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology (CDTI) Vicente Gomez, and Jacinto Garcia Palacios, CEO of Hispasat signed an agreement leading to the development of a new multimedia telecommunication system called AmerHis.
The Agreement was signed at the Spanish Embassy in Paris in the presence of the Spanish Ambassador to France and the Chairman of the ESA Council.
The AmerHis System is intended to provide high performance interactive multimedia services through HISPASAT's AMAZONAS satellite on its four Ku band coverage zones: North America, South America, Brazil and Europe. The AMAZONAS satellite is in advanced state of construction and is due to be launched in the first half of 2004.
The functionality of the AmerHis System goes well beyond simply providing a number of separate transponders to become a broadband switchboard in space. AmerHis introduces a geo-stationary switched multimedia system able to provide standardised DVB-S/DVB-RCS broadband services and connectivity to user terminals across two continents. In this respect the AmerHis developments include, in addition to the On Board Multimedia Switch, the associated Network Management System and a limited set of user terminals and Gateways.
Multimedia regenerative systems, of which AmerHis is a precursor, pave the way for satellites with much larger capacity, covering regions with dozens of spots in new frequency bands and able to provide interactive services to millions of users.
The system concept for AmerHis has been in development under ESA Telecommunication's programme lines and under the Spanish National Space Plan. One of its attractive features is precisely the Europeanisation of what was conceived originally as a National initiative.
AmerHis also represents an exemplary model for the development of telecommunication systems and technology in partnership with a Satellite Operator.
For ESA, this project is a fundamental component of the Telecommunication Long Term Plan and will be repeated with other Operators. The market connection reinforces ESA's objective - to advance the competitiveness of European and Canadian Industry - vital in the satellite telecommunications sector, the most commercially valuable of all Space applications.
Finally, the fact that AmerHis will be deployed on four spot beams of which three are in America describes clearly the vocation of the system to become a vehicle to promote European and Canadian equipment and services to other regions of the world.
The consortium in charge of developing the system is led by Alcatel Espacio, with the support of Alcatel Space Industries (France). Other companies participating in the project are Mier and Indra Espacio in Spain, EMS in Canada and Nera in Norway.