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Commercial Operator Identity Hub (COIH): Identity as a Service for the Network of EO Resources



In the context of Space 4.0 and its “EO Innovation Europe” concept, the European Space Agency (ESA) is forming a new ecosystem for exploitation of EO data under the name “Network of EO Resources”. The main goal is to bring the numerous and largely disparate EO datasets into a federated layer of exploitation platforms and enable the End-Users to perform research directly where the data is stored. Thus, the current paradigm “bring the data to the user” (users having to download enormous datasets to their premises and own massive infrastructures to process that data) will be replaced with the “bring the user to the data” paradigm, as the exploitation platforms will not only provide the raw data, but also a computing framework with specific tools and algorithms relevant to Earth Sciences.
Federated Authentication and Authorization Infrastructure (AAI) is one of the key building blocks of this new ecosystem, aimed at providing a Single Sign On (SSO) experience for the users of the Network of EO Resources. In this context, the Agency has run several Pathfinder activities with the aim to align the Federation approaches among the various players in the Earth Observation domain and ensure these approaches are in-line with the AARC Blueprint Architecture and the technical practises in EduGain.
To ensure the most cohesive operation of the Network of EO Resources, a centralised “IDaaS” (Identity as a Service) has been identified as the most suitable Identity and Access Management model, which is the subject of this service contract.
The European Association of Remote Sensing Companies (EARSC) has been chosen by ESA to act as the Data Controller and Statutory Body for governing the IDaaS services resulting from this contract. The operational context of these services is a pure Business to Business (B2B) environment with no general public involved. The actors of this B2B environment are EARSC and the COIH service provider on one side, and commercial companies involved in the Earth Observation business on the other side.


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