ESA tasks Airbus with streamlining  Copernicus data access


LONDON — Airbus has signed a contract with the European Space Agency to develop a Copernicus Data and Information Access Services, or DIAS, platform that will make data from the Earth-monitoring constellation more accessible to users from about mid-2018.

According to Airbus spokesman Jeremy Close, the contract is worth more the 10 million euros.

Airbus will be one of four DIAS providers, with each provider developing a separate platform using different software but the same data, according to Close.

Airbus cooperates on the development with its subcontractors including network operator Orange, professional services and business consulting corporation Capgemini, CLS and Vito.

The contract covers a four-year period with early operations expected to start in mid-2018.

The European Commission, which is responsible for Copernicus, tasked ESA with overseeing the development of DIAS in May this year to avoid the need to store and manage the data using its own computer systems.

Six Sentinel satellites that make up the Copernicus Earth observation constellation are already in orbit with further missions planned. According to an Airbus press release, the constellation generates as much data in one year as ESA’s previous Earth observation mission Envisat, which ended in 2012, would produce in half a century.

The goal of the DIAS platforms will be to provide a “one-stop shop on the cloud” for easy access to all Sentinel, as well as third party, data and processing tools and resources. The European Commission hopes the platform will encourage scientists, the general public and especially entrepreneurs to use the data to develop Earth observation data-based products and services.

“DIAS will simplify the data access for European citizens and will boost the creation of new business models based on Earth Observation,” said Mathilde Royer-Germain, head of Earth observation, navigation and science at Airbus.

Royer-Germain signed the contract today in Brussels together with Josef Aschbacher, ESA Director for Earth observation.