Specialist space awareness and surveillance company takes off in Durham

A specialist space awareness and surveillance company has opened the UK’s only Orbital Analyst centre in Durham.

Northern Space and Security Ltd (NORSS), which specializes in Space Situational Awareness (SSA) and Space Surveillance and Tracking (SST), has expanded its team and set up the NORSS Orbital Analyst Hive (NOAH) at Aykley Heads Business Centre which will work to identify, track and monitor the behaviour of objects in space.  

Ralph “Dinz” Dinsley, a retired RAF officer with more than 32 years in military service as an Aerospace Battle Manager, formed NORSS to utilise his unprecedented expertise in space surveillance and tracking.  

He set up NORSS in Alnwick in May 2017 to deliver specialist support to space flight operators and space surveillance, providing expert advice on technical, operational and policy matters regarding the sustainable use of space. Over the last 18 months Ralph has been joined at the helm by Sean Goldsbrough, the UK Space Agency’s (UKSA) first Senior Orbital Analyst and Dr Adam White, also of UKSA and commercial space heritage. 

Since its inception NORSS has been supported by Business Durham through the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence, based at NETPark in Sedgefield, which has provided funding, advice, networking and opportunities to attend events. The company took part in the UK Space Agency Incubator Programme, which the centre also facilitated. 

Business Durham, the economic development arm of Durham County Council, has led the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence since April 2014, engaging with over 670 organisations, establishing links between 277 business and universities and helping companies secure £9.2M worth of funding. 

Ralph Dinsley, Founder and Executive Director of NORSS, said: “We’re incredibly grateful to Business Durham for its support through the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence over the last three years, if we hadn’t received the grant from the UK Space Agency through the Centre then we wouldn’t be where we are today. The funding I received enabled me to grow the company which resulted in me taking on business partners, employing staff and expanding from one office to three. The advice and support from the Centre and Business Durham has been phenomenal, and it has been really exciting to help bring space to the North East.” 

NORSS has grown rapidly over the last three years due to winning contracts with the UK Space Agency and working with partners in the space sector.  The company now employs eleven members of staff and is currently recruiting for two more positions and a Data Analyst apprentice through New College Durham.  

The firm also opened a second office at the UK space hub in Harwell, Oxfordshire in 2018, and earlier this year the new NORSS Orbital Analyst Hive (NOAH) at Aykley Heads in Durham which they share with Intelligence Fusion, another company supported by the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence.  

Dinz added: “We’re thrilled to have opened the UK’s first only Orbital Analyst centre in Durham and are looking forward to providing technical support to the UK Space Agency and to the commercial space sector. This is a fantastic opportunity and will allow us to continue working on the identification, tracking and behaviour of objects in space. 

We’ll also be increasing our workforce, as well as providing a Data Analyst apprenticeship for someone who shares our enthusiasm about space. We’re really excited about supporting and developing a young person’s career to help the North East space sector to grow and can’t wait to see what the future holds.” 

Sarah Slaven, Interim Managing Director of Business Durham, said: “We’re delighted to see NORSS open the UK’s only Orbital Analyst centre in Durham.  It reflects the growing number of companies, specialist knowledge and skills in the space sector in the region.  

“The company has been involved with the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence at NETPark for several years and it’s fantastic to see them creating new jobs and collaborating with other space and technology companies in the region, nationally and beyond.  

“The space sector in the North East has been growing over recent years. We look forward to supporting and attracting more innovations and companies such as this.” 

To find out more about NORSS visit: www.norss.co.uk/ 

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