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Europe’s Leading Public-Private Partnership for Cloud

The Helix Nebula Initiative is a partnership between industry, space and science to establish a dynamic ecosystem, benefiting from open cloud services for the seamless integration of science into a business environment. Today, the partnership counts over 40 public and private partners.


The European Space Agency (ESA), in partnership with the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) in France and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is collaborating with the National Research Council (CNR) in Italy, to create an Earth observation platform focusing on earthquake and volcano research.

Geohazard Supersites is an international partnership of projects, organizations and scientists, involved in monitoring the dynamic and complex solid-Earth system and the assessment of geohazards. Its mission is to support the Group of Earth Observation (GEO) in the effort to reduce loss of life and property caused by the natural disasters of earthquakes and volcano eruptions . The Geohazard Supersites project will advance scientific understanding of the physical processes which control earthquakes and volcanic eruptions as well as those driving tectonics and Earth surface dynamics.

“Helix Nebula - the Science Cloud is a partnership with the potential to support an utmost exploitation of ESA satellite data, as well as to bring other communities on board to better understand the geophysical phenomena of our planet,” says Volker Liebig, ESA Director for Earth Observation Programmes.

What we want to achieve.

  • An open source, unified e-infrastructure for solid Earth data,
  • Improved data products for solid Earth monitoring,
  • Secure solid Earth data sharing on the cloud,
  • Enabling international collaboration,
  • Enlargement of the science user base.

How will the project assist the scientific community?

The project brings the global geo-hazard community onto a common platform that enables the correlation and processing of observation data for supersites monitoring. The result will be:

  • Better scientific understanding of geo-hazards to provide sound information about risk and mitigation measures,
  • The combination of information extracted from different sources (satellite & in-situ) will open the door to a wide range of new approaches.

In the long term the project will provide:

  • A science and business platform ensuring the optimal exploitation of ESA data, under an “open & free” data policy, but also other Earth Observation data providers,
  • A first choice workspace for scientists and academics (schools, universities etc.), service providers and other value adding organisations.
  • A sustainable business platform, capitalizing on the output of global “intelligence”.



Helix Nebula is a new, pioneering partnership between leading IT providers and four of Europe’s biggest research centres, CERN, EMBL, ESA and PIC, charting a course towards sustainable cloud services for the research communities - the Science Cloud.