(L-R) Ralph Dinsley from NORSS, Arnab Basu from Kromek, Ken Williamson from PragmatIC, Gareth Taylor from Evince, Sarah Slaven, interim managing director at Business Durham, George Freeman MP, Minister for Science, Research and Innovation at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Thomas Bayat from Isocom, Paul Howell, MP for Sedgefield and Will Leonard from Inex Microtechnology.

The Satellite Applications Catapult has opened one of its six brand new Space Enterprise Labs (SEL) in County Durham.

The Space Enterprise Lab, which will provide users with access to the latest collaborative technology, resources and expertise, has opened at the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence at NETPark in Sedgefield.

The Space Enterprise Labs have been developed in response to the changing needs of organisations to engage and collaborate virtually with organisations beyond their locality.  The Satellite Applications Catapult is rolling out a network of Space Enterprise Labs across the UK, including the one at NETPark, to ensure companies can continue to innovate and collaborate effectively and efficiently.

The centre of excellence is one of the three across the UK and is led by Business Durham, the business support service of Durham County Council. Since April 2014, it has engaged with over 670 organisations, establishing links between 277 business and universities, and helping companies secure £9.2M worth of funding.

The centre, which is supported by the Satellite Applications Catapult and UK Space Agency, is focused on using satellite applications to create a safer world, addressing challenges including sustainable living and climate change, security of supply chains and resilience in infrastructure and assets.

Sarah Slaven, Interim Managing Director of Business Durham, said: “We’re delighted that the Satellite Applications Catapult has chosen County Durham as one of the locations of its first Space Enterprise Labs.  The North East Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications has gone from strength to strength over the last seven years, and is at the heart of the region’s growing space economy.

“The Centre has been instrumental in championing the regional space sector and forging new partnerships with space and non-space companies, contributing jobs and growth to the UK. We’re now looking forward to building momentum with the new Space Enterprise Lab and the expansion plans for NETPark Phase 3, which will raise the profile of the North East within the wider space network, nationally and beyond.”

The innovative and inclusive services at the Space Enterprise Labs enable the virtual delivery of meetings including hybrid events, seminars, workshops, project meetings, business sprints, user engagement spark sessions and other services such as virtual whiteboards and built-in video conferencing, for everyone within the North East and wider UK space sector to utilise.

Lucy Edge, Chief Operations Officer at the Satellite Applications Catapult, said: “We are delighted to be launching the Space Enterprise Labs as we continue to support the growth of the space sector across the UK. These unique facilities embrace the new hybrid way in which we all now engage, while also offering a safe and secure environment to foster UK-wide space innovation and discussion.  Businesses across the UK will now be able to collaborate across a range of high-tech, high-innovation subjects, to bring ideas and customers together more effectively.”

Filtronic plc, which designs and manufactures products for space markets welcomed the opening of the Space Enterprise Lab, Richard Gibbs, CEO said: “Space is an exciting sector for Filtronic, the skills and capabilities that we have honed for over 40 years are now being applied in a non-terrestrial environment. The Satellite Applications Catapult is important for Filtronic and industry to build a sustainable space enterprise community. We are excited about having a Space Enterprise Lab at NETPark, helping to grow and support the core skills that already exist within the North East”.

The Space Enterprise Lab at NETPark will be hosting three events in October which companies can get involved with, including: Space4Climate on 12th October between 4:00-7:00pm, GNOSIS – Space Sustainability and Sustainability Development Goals on 13th October between 1:00pm – 6:00pm, and the Northumbrian Water Innovation Festival which takes place between 18th-21st October.