24 January 2023


Data, Earth Observation, Media Updates, News, Space

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  • RHEA Group is awarded contract by the European Space Agency to lead the Destination Earth (DestinE)* Use Cases project.
  • The 18-month project will identify use cases to be integrated in the DestinE Service Platform and establish a DestinE user community of stakeholders to fuel future innovation.

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RHEA Group has won a contract from the European Space Agency (ESA) to lead an 18‑month project to identify use cases for the European Commission’s Destination Earth (DestinE) initiative. The selection and implementation of the initial set of end-to-end use cases will demonstrate the capabilities of the DestinE infrastructure, in particular the DestinE Service Platform (DESP) being developed by ESA.

DestinE is the EC’s ambitious initiative to develop a high precision model (digital twin) of aspects of the Earth’s system to enable users to monitor and simulate natural and human activities. It will improve modelling and predictive capacities, and support environmental policies and decision-making processes at European and global scales, including the green transition of the European Union, aligning with the goals set out in the EC’s Green Deal and Digital Strategy. A number of distinct digital twins focussing on specific areas are initially being developed, which will converge into a Digital Twin of the Earth by 2030.

RHEA is leading the Destination Earth Use Cases project consortium, working with partners Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTh, Greece) and Trust-IT (Italy) to select a set of use cases to be developed and integrated within DESP, a cloud-based front-end for users that is one of three main building blocks of DestinE. The project will include collaboration with the other two DestinE components, namely the Destination Earth Data Lake, led by the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), for which RHEA is providing system engineering services, and the Digital Twin Engine, which is the responsibility of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF).

Pascal Rogiest, RHEA Group Chief Strategy Officer, said: “We are delighted to be working with ESA on this element of the DestinE initiative. Identifying use cases is at the core of the DestinE Service Platform to ensure DestinE will provide actionable information and decision support to the end-users most in need. Our team will select these use cases according to ESA’s Best Practice Procurement Process, of which we have extensive knowledge and experience.

“Alongside our highly experienced partners, we will be actively engaging with the broad community of DestinE stakeholders and potential users, not only to gather their requirements, but also to encourage their direct involvement with DestinE’s future evolution.”

Previous analysis by the Joint Research Centre of the EC led to the selection of the first two digital twins to be developed by the ECMWF: Weather-induced and Geophysical Extremes, and Climate Change Adaptation. The new project will focus on selecting and developing end-to-end use cases that demonstrate the scientific and technological added value of DestinE, and that fit with the objectives of the European Green Deal.

Working in collaboration with AUTh and Trust-IT, RHEA’s experts will select use cases and engage with stakeholders including policy makers, research organizations, academia, the private sector and the public. The project also covers management of the design, development and integration of these applications within DESP.

The Destination Earth Use Cases project runs until June 2024, with a potential 6-month extension. It falls within the first phase of the DestinE initiative, with the overall project due to be completed by 2030.

*Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the European Commission can be held responsible for them

Main image: © ESA