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Business Durham Case Studies

Supporting County Durham businesses.
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NorSS

A SPECIALIST space awareness and surveillance company is helping to develop the UK as an ‘international space power’ backed by years of experience in the industry. 

Ralph “Dinz” Dinsley, a recently retired RAF officer with more than 32 years in military service as an aerospace battle manager, has formed Northumberland-based Northern Space and Security Limited (NorSS) to utilise his unprecedented expertise in space surveillance and tracking. 

Dinz has more than 16 years’ surveillance experience working at RAF Fylingdales, near Pickering, North Yorkshire, an early warning station to detect ballistic missile attacks, with a secondary role of detecting, reporting and tracking satellite launches and orbits. This included a number of years supporting both the UK and its Allies’ development of space situational awareness and space domain awareness.

Dinz set up NorSS in Longhoughton last May to deliver specialist support to space flight operations and space surveillance, providing expert advice on technical, operational and policy matters regarding sustainable use of space.

NorSS is benefitting from the region’s space incubation programme, delivered by Business Durham, the economic development organisation for County Durham, working on behalf of Durham County Council, in partnership with the UK Space Agency. The scheme helps companies working in the industry access expertise in areas such as marketing, law, financial management, business growth and IP protection. 

“Globally, people refer to space as a bit of the Wild West – it’s a strange environment and expertise in the area of space surveillance and tracking is limited. A growing recognition of the need for space traffic management means NorSS will be able to exploit an emerging concept,” he said.

“My vision for NorSS is to contribute heavily to the space surveillance picture, support traffic management and, if there’s the opportunity for a space operations centre outside the military, then that’s where I see my business’s core work.

“Beyond that, NorSS will also support space education both for Government and industry. So, it would be a multifaceted company providing all manner of expertise to help both the growing UK space industry but also developing the UK as an international space power.”

Dinz expects NorSS to expand its workforce as it looks to work on projects with the European and UK Space Agencies, as well in areas of defence and security, in the “niche but expanding” area of the market.  

Brian Archer, Business Durham managing director, said: “NorSS is the perfect example of an emerging regional company with the capabilities to achieve great things in the space industry.

“The incubation programme will allow NorSS access to specialist advice on funding, business development and support to ensure it has the chance to grasp the numerous opportunities available.”

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