An exciting line-up of speakers has been announced for an event that will highlight key developments in the North East’s fast-growing space industry. 

The North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence (NESACoE) is hosting this year’s North East Space Conference on 22nd March at Radisson Blu in Durham. This flagship event will explore the current priorities for the space sector in a series of presentations and informative discussions.

Over 200 delegates from businesses in the sector have signed up for this year’s event, which will feature a range of interesting debates and speeches from representatives from industry, the public sector and academia. These include John Bone, Chair of North East Space Leadership Group, and Cllr Amanda Hopgood, Leader of Durham County Council, who will open proceedings and talk about the importance of the sector in County Durham and the wider North East.

NESACoE, which is delivered by the business support service for Durham County Council, Business Durham, has received funding from the Satellite Applications Catapult and the UK Space Agency over the last nine years to grow the sector in the region. The sector now includes more than 50 companies in the North East with a workforce of almost 1,400 people and income of more than £113 million generated – a key industry that continues to grow. 

Maureen Haverty from venture capital specialist Seraphim Capital will talk about the work the work the investment company does to support space entrepreneurship, from inception to exit, while several early-stage businesses, which have raised $40 million in total, will be sharing their experiences of raising investment; these are four of the up-and-coming European space companies recently listed in Sifted’s Spacetech report.

Dinz Dinsley from Raytheon NORSS, Sam Adlen from Solar Space, and Derek Harris, from Skyrora, will discuss the crucial issue of how the space sector can help the space environment  to become more sustainable, before Trevor Beard, Eliot Minn from e2E Services, Richard Gibbs, from Filtronic, and Pete Penegor, from aerospace and defence giant Lockheed Martin, turn the spotlight on satellites in the ecosystem of 5G communications and how this can help to create smart cities.

Major figures from the sector, including Fabrizio De Paolis from the European Space Agency, Sam Adlen, from Solar Space and the Satellite Applications Catapult and Harshbir Sangha from the UK Space Agency , will give their insight into the developments and opportunities in the sector, and Amy Harhoff, Corporate Director for Regeneration Economy and Growth at Durham County Council,  will discuss the role of North East Devolution and what it means for Space in the region.

Cllr Amanda Hopgood, Leader of Durham County Council, said: “We are delighted that this year’s space conference has generated so much interest amongst the business community of County Durham and the wider North East. Businesses that have signed up to this flagship event will be able to hear about the very latest developments in a sector that will underpin the UK’s economic growth for decades to come.

“Locally, the North East Satellite Applications Centre of Excellence is crucial to the growth of the region’s space sector. Based at the region’s premier science and technology park – Sedgefield-based North East Technology Park (NETPark) – it has proved very successful in helping businesses in this fast-expanding sector to connect with each other and provide much-needed expertise.”

John Bone, Chair of the North East Space Leadership Group and COO at e2E Group, said: “This year’s North East Space Conference will showcase some of the incredible work that is being undertaken by North East companies and universities in collaboration with UK and international partners to support the UK’s ambition to be a leading player in the space market. We continue to see the profile of the North East being raised in the space sector, this year attracting even more involvement from leading global experts and influencers from space companies, universities, the UK Space Agency and ESA (European Space Agency).”

Lockheed Martin, which is sponsoring this year’s event, announced last year that it is exploring options for a new facility in the North East. Other sponsors include Durham University, Northumbria University and Invest North East England.