AMETHYST Phase 0 (2003) aimed to catch initial operators' requirements, identify associated system design drivers with respect to existing products and to perform system-level analysis. During this prospective phase, two main directions for further studies were identified, leading to two separated studies in Phase 1 which were targeting different applications but relying on the same technological basis.
- Phase 1A was a sub-project dedicated to the system and design analysis of Geomobile Networks aiming at the integration of Satellite Networks with Ancillary Terrestrial Components System that will allow the use of new types of satellite-enabled mobile terminals based on the terrestrial standards. The project focused on System Analysis, Satellite & payload Analysis and consolidation of the Telecom Ground Infrastructure. The key purpose of Phase 1A was to devise and then validate new system architectures based on the analysis of the present and future satellite technological limitations.
- Phase 1B is a second sub-project initiated in April 2004 with INMARSAT. The purpose is to study the possible adaptation of the existing Inmarsat-4 spacecraft design to offer high performance services and integrate the new worldwide MSS spectrum allocation at L-band decided at the WRC-03.
In 2006, an extension of Phase 1A has also been performed in order to assess the end-to-end communication performances of mobile systems using Ground-Based Beam Forming signal processing techniques for different payload configurations. Performances were assessed using an ad-hoc powerful software simulation tool to model the payload transfer characteristics, propagation impairments, and ground-based signal processing degradations.
In 2007 in Europe, the mobile satellites under development at S-band selected On Board-Based Beam Forming technique. Ground-Based Beam Forming technique was still a valid concept (implemented in the US) that may be further investigated for the second generation of mobile satellites.
Considering this context, Astrium proposed to focus the activities of Amethyst in order to investigate the short term opportunities offered by the new S-band mobile satellites to support the Astrium Nemo - New Mobile System - system service, i.e. delivery of communication services to the Public Safety.